UN secretary-general warns about food insecurity owing to food shortage and surging global food prices. Parts of Africa facing food shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Countries Facing Food Shortages- UN Global Report on Food Crises
Antonio Guterres reported four countries- Congo, Yemen, northeast Nigeria, and South Sudan facing the most extensive food crises in the world. In, 2020 Global Report on Food Crises and recent food security, he said that having faced violence for several years, these nations are witnessing heightened food insecurity. Also, Antonio informed of alarming food insecurity levels, affecting around 10 million (80%) in Nigeria’s Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states. Further, he noted that a similar situation might arise in conflict-hit countries, including Somalia, Burkina Faso, and Afghanistan.
Stressing on the economic shocks and the pandemic, he mentioned this is hitting the availability of food. Besides, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock accounted for lockdowns, border closures, and restrictions on movement for effecting agriculture productivity and food security.
FAO Reports Rise in Global Food Prices
FAO of the United Nations reported an increase in global food prices for a third straight month in August. It accounted for firm demand and a weak dollar for increased food prices. Also, the World Bank mentioned disruptions in domestic food supply chains caused by COVID-19. This affected food production and raised concerns over food security in several countries. Further, it added that disruptions in the supply of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds can reduce next season’s crop. Also, the institution mentioned several farmers of cocoa, coffee, sesame, cotton in Africa and Indonesia faced shortages in essential nutrition.
Food Shortage in Africa
Cameroon, a country in Central Africa, blocked its millet exports owing to decreased production. This was due to the threat of Boko Haram terrorists on the northern border. Also, a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics disclosed the prevalence of food security in the Federal Capital Territory. The states of Kano, Lagos, and Rivers also experienced a food shortage.
Further, it mentioned that around 79% and 72% of households in river and FCT reported skipping meals since the pandemic started. It added that the epidemic had left these households economically vulnerable. As a result, they have reduced their investments in human capital. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria has approved the import of 262,000 tons of maize and corn to meet the anticipated shortfall in commodity production.
In all, the pandemic has added to the countries’ woes. A burden to countries already fighting with, economic contraction and lack in availability of public services.