Nigeria, 44 other countries groan under wheat price hike
The rising price of wheat has hit Nigeria and 44 other countries following the Russian/Ukraine war, which is in its fifth month.
Among the most affected countries is the United States of America and 18 African countries that depend on Ukraine’s wheat supply.
Prof. Abba Gambo of the Faculty of Agriculture, Yobe State University (YSU), Damaturu, raised the alarm at the weekend, while presenting a lead paper on the United Nations (UN) food system transformation pathways in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Gambo, in the paper entitled ‘Global Food Crisis and Its Impact on the Nigerian Agriculture Sector’, disclosed that the two countries at war supply wheat to about half of the world’s population.
Noting that wheat is used in the production of bread, flour, pastas and cakes, he said the World Food Programme (WFP) also gets 50 per cent of its yearly food supplies from Ukraine and Russia.
Besides, he noted that the price of fuel, a major export of the two countries, has skyrocketed across the globe, with the U.S. as the worst hit since February 24, 2022 when the first Russian missile hit Ukraine.
“Ukraine alone accounts for 25 per cent of global fertiliser demand in the world,” he said, lamenting that the price of NPK fertiliser also increased from N7,000 to N30,000 a bag this year.
In overcoming the food crisis, he said that recently, the Chairman of the African Union (AU), President Macky Sall of Senegal, was in Russia to lobby for softer restrictions on Ukraine exports of wheat to Africa.
Also, the EU is lobbying for the release of about 22 million metric tonnes of wheat stored in Ukraine.
Gambo, therefore, warned that the prices of the products would continue to rise, unless an alternative to wheat is found.