A Financial Analyst, Mr Victor Ndukauba, has raised concern over the looming food security and inflation in the country on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ndukauba, the Deputy Managing Director of Afrinvest West Africa Ltd., made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.
The expert said with the recent circumstances surrounding the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians should be wary of some level of food insecurity in the coming months.
“The truth is that we should be a bit concerned about food insecurity in the country in the nearest future.
“The way we should look at the situation is to examine what sort of impact COVID-19 will have on Nigerian food security.
“When you look at the inflation basket in Nigeria, more than half of it is actually food inflation. About 51 per cent of the inflation basket is attributed to food inflation.
“More than half of that 51 per cent is caused by imported foods. So at the end of the day, imported foods account for about 26 to 27 per cent of the national inflation basket.
“With the advent COVID-19, the entire global logistics industry is shut down; the airlines are not working; to stall the transmission of the virus,” the expert said.
Ndukauba noted that the direct implications of the logistics industry shutdown was that a lot of the components of the food that people ate that was dependent on imports would be inflated in price or even scarce.
“Imported components like flour which supports our bread, pasta/macaroni and also wheat which goes into a lot of beverage production in the country and we also import sugar.
“Sugar is required for a lot of food production here in Nigeria. A lot of the beverage industries need sugar; also sugar is used in the pharmaceutical industries, etc.
“Most sugar companies in the country have facilities by the seaports, where they import large volumes, process it and package it for sale,” Ndukauba said.
“The markets are one end of the agricultural value chain, where the consumers come to purchase but the farmlands as it is today have been neglected.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some local farmers have not been involved in farming activities owing to herdsmen attacks,’’ he said.
According to him, food inflation this year has been a little over the curve.
“Cost of food has been driving inflation up as the output of our farms have already began to decline,’’ the expert said.