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Nigeria Reels From Twin Crises That Threaten Food Availability

NIGERIA-FOOD-CRISIS:Nigeria reels from twin crises that threaten meals availability

Mal Shehu Ladan took a ship throughout what was, till this month, a rising rice paddy. Now, like hundreds of hectares of rice in Nigeria’s Kebbi state, it’s below water.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: September 14, 2020, 9:39 PM IST


ABUJA: Mal Shehu Ladan took a ship throughout what was, till this month, a rising rice paddy. Now, like hundreds of hectares of rice in Nigeria’s Kebbi state, it’s below water.

“Almost all my farm has been flooded. I didn’t harvest any rice,” Ladan informed Reuters. “It’s going to be devastating.”

Floods early this month throughout northwest Nigeria destroyed 90% of the two million tons that Kebbi state officers anticipated to reap this autumn, the pinnacle of the state department of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria informed Reuters. The loss quantities to some 20% of the rice Nigeria grew final yr, and the waters are nonetheless rising.

Farther south, outdoors Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, rooster farmer Hippolite Adigwe can be fearful. A scarcity of maize pressured him to promote most of his flock of greater than 1,000 birds, and the 300 left are hungry. Chicken feed costs have greater than doubled, and he isn’t certain how lengthy he can cope.

Twin crises, floods and maize shortages, come simply after motion restrictions and financing difficulties attributable to COVID-19 containment measures difficult spring planting. [nL5N2CA6QD]

Some farmers and economists say it might push Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, right into a meals disaster. Rice is the nation’s staple grain, and rooster is a core protein.

“There is a real fear of having food shortages,” Arc Kabir Ibrahim, president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria informed Reuters. “The effect on the food system is going to be colossal.”

Nigeria took roughly 4,000 tons of millet and sorghum from the regional financial bloc’s (ECOWAS) strategic shares final month and launched 30,000 tons of its personal maize. It additionally gave 4 firms particular permission to import maize.

The distinguished Nigerian Economic Summit Group has referred to as for “a complete overhaul” of agriculture coverage.

Problems accessing overseas change to import meals are including to shortages. In July, the central financial institution added maize to an inventory of things for which importers are banned from utilizing its {dollars}. Rice and fertilizer had been already on the listing, together with different gadgets that Nigeria needs made domestically.

Last week, at the same time as meals costs spiked, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed that not one cent of central financial institution {dollars} would go to meals or fertilizer imports, as Nigeria would proceed encouraging native farmers over imports.

Importers can use {dollars} from pricier parallel markets. But these are robust to search out because of an oil value crash that has minimize Nigeria’s core supply of overseas change.


Rice costs had already risen considerably because of a land border closure final yr that aimed to stamp out smuggling and enhance native manufacturing.

Peter Clubb of the International Grains Council mentioned the spike drove shoppers to eat maize as a substitute. This, together with a disappointing crop late final yr and the overseas change points, boosted maize costs to 180,000 naira per ton from round 70,000 naira in March.

Farmers say that buyers grappling with inflation, the primary hike in gasoline costs since 2016 and an influence value spike can solely pay a lot extra for meals. [nL8N2G43DD]

Ayodeji Balogun, chief govt at commodities change Afex, mentioned the central financial institution’s lending scheme for farmers has considerably expanded output, and may work long run.

But the approaching months will probably be robust. Fertilizer costs hit a document after a COVID-19 outbreak shut down nation’s sole urea plant for 2 weeks, that means extra farmers will skip fertilizers, limiting crop yields.

“The worst is yet to happen,” Balogun mentioned. “It is a problem across grains.”

Buhari has pledged extra help, and Agriculture Minister Muhammed Sabo Nanono visited the northwest space this weekend and promised to supply farmers with high-quality seeds and to arrange a particular committee to make sure they’ve all they should plant new crops as quickly as doable.

Adigwe, the rooster farmer, mentioned he thinks barring overseas meals so as to assist farmers isn’t a foul thought, however “there are some factors that were not considered.”

“Can local production sustain the population of Nigeria?”

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