Inflation: World Food Program stops purchasing food in Nigeria

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has indicated that it is examining its local food procurement and will only purchase food in Nigeria after prices have stabilised.

The agency announced this in a news release, stating that a monitoring effort in Borno, Yobe, and Kano states indicated increasing food price inflation, putting further strain on displaced populations who are unable to cultivate.

David Stevenson, WFP’s Country Director and Representative in Nigeria, stated that the organisation has a limited supply of food to continue operations and will only purchase food for local markets in Nigeria after prices stabilise.

“We are aware of traders holding food in their warehouses pretending it is WFP’s. This is inaccurate as WFP has its limited stock only available to continue supporting the most vulnerable Nigerians with critical assistance.

“We are undertaking a comprehensive review of our local food procurement. WFP will purchase food in Nigeria only when the market conditions are stable for all.

The group stated it targeted reaching 1.1 million people across Nigeria and hopes to increase to 1.6 million during between June–August- a period known as “the lean season”.

Food producers, Olam Agric and Nigeria Flour Mills, had halted acquiring grains such as maize and sorghum due to the fast spike in prices and to enable the market to stabilise. Soaring inflation and market prices have reduced the purchasing power of many Nigerian households, particularly those in the country’s conflict-torn northeast.

In its Food Security report, the World Bank predicted that seven states in Northern Nigeria will experience a serious food crisis. Furthermore, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that approximately 26.5 million Nigerians may go hungry by 2024.

These predictions appear to be coming true, as rising food prices prevent many people from eating properly. To address the food security situation temporarily, the federal government has decided to release grains from the national reserve in order to drive commodity prices lower.