Food Inflation Begins to Ease: April Marks Second Straight Month of Decline

Food inflation
FILE PHOTO: Food items in an open market in Mpape, Abuja

April Sees Second Consecutive Monthly Decline in Food Inflation

Nigeria’s food inflation fell for the second consecutive month in April 2024, following a steady increase in the previous five months.

The monthly food inflation rate in April was 2.50%, a decrease from the 3.62% recorded in March 2024.

Year-on-year food inflation reached 40.01% in March 2024.

However, according to Nairametrics, the rate of increase in year-on-year food inflation was the slowest since May 2023, when it was 0.21%.

Despite the decline in food inflation, Nigeria is currently facing a cost of living crisis, with inflation at a 28-year high of 33.69% and food inflation at almost 34%.

Prices of staple foods, especially grains, have increased by almost 100% since last year due to disruptions in global supply chains caused by conflicts in the Middle East and Europe.

Several factors have contributed to Nigeria’s food insecurity problem.

In July 2023, Russia withdrew from the United Nations Black Sea grain deal, which allowed free passage of grains to Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria.

The disruption of cargo traffic around the Black Sea by Houthi rebels also contributed to an increase in food prices.

Additionally, the removal of fuel subsidy by President Tinubu earlier in his administration significantly increased transport prices across the country, which contributed to rising food prices.

Furthermore, the depreciation of the naira following the unification of the foreign exchange market in June 2023 contributed to 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 caused 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 primarily caused by insecurity.

According to a report by Cadre Harmonise, 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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