Nigeria’s month-on-month food inflation declined in April for the second consecutive time following five months of consistent increase dating back to October 2023.

    Monthly food inflation in April stood at 2.50%, a decline from the 3.62% recorded in March 2024 when year-on-year food inflation reached 40.01%.

    The monthly change in food inflation gradually rose from 1.91% in October 2023 to 3.79% in February before the decline in the last two months.

    Headline food inflation reached 40.53%, representing an increase of 0.52% over one month. However, year-on-year food inflation increased at the slowest rate since May 2023 when the rate of increase in year-on-year food inflation was 0.21%.

     

     

    Nigeria’s food insecurity problem

    Nigeria currently battles a cost of living crisis with inflation at a 28-year high of 33.69% and food inflation almost at 34%. Prices of staple food across the country, especially grains, have seen an almost 100% increase since last year because of disruption in global supply chains due to conflicts in the Middle East and Europe.

    • In July last year, Russia withdrew from the United Nations Black Sea grain deal that allowed free passage of grains to Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria. Furthermore, the disruption of cargo traffic around the Black Sea by Houthi rebels also contributed to an increase in food prices.
    • Furthermore, the removal of fuel subsidy by President Tinubu earlier in his administration significantly increased transport prices across the country which contributed in no small measure to the rising food prices.
    • Also, the depreciation of the naira following the unification of the foreign exchange market in June contributed to the high inflation levels as food imports became more expensive. The naira has depreciated by over 100% on the official market since the unification of the forex market in 2023.
    • The World Bank and other development institutions have projected elevated levels of hunger and food insecurity occasioned by insecurity and climate change. The World Bank, in its food security report for 2024, stated that seven states in Nigeria will experience severe food inflation in Nigeria primarily caused by insecurity.
    • Furthermore, a report by Cadre Harmonise indicates that over 5 million Nigerians are at risk of food insecurity between June and August 2024, worsened by the removal of the fuel subsidy, which has driven up inflation in agricultural inputs and transportation.
    • A similar report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) stated that around 16% of Nigerians will face severe food insecurity during the lean season between June and August 2024. The 2024 figure is higher compared to the 2023 report, indicating a rising trend in hunger and worsening living conditions across Nigeria and the broader West and Central Africa regions.

     

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