ECOWAS to Deliberate on Food Crisis in the Region

ECOWAS to Deliberate on Food Crisis in the Region

Food Crisis
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The ECOWAS Parliament will assemble in Guinea Bissau today to deliberate on the food crisis that has impacted the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 17 million people in the Sahel and West Africa (7.1 million in Nigeria alone) needed food and nutritional assistance during the pandemic, according to the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA)

The network added that the effect of both violent insecurity and COVID-19 could lead to over 50 million people in danger of food and nutrition crisis.

The theme for the program is ‘Agricultural Production and Food Security in ECOWAS region under Covid-19 pandemic.’

Sidie Mohammed Tunis, Speaker ECOWAS Parliament, stated that COVID-19 has negatively impacted food production and could also threaten food security in the region.

‘We will have experts on Covid-19 and also experts from the Commission on agriculture that will explain to all of us especially for the benefit of the People of Guinea Bissau where we are as a region regarding food security and where we are regarding the fight against Covid-19,’ the Speaker stated.

‘We will have the Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) who is championing the fight against Covid-19 and other stakeholders who will present their expertise on behalf of the people of West Africa,’ the minister added.

The catastrophic aftermath of the pandemic is seen in global commodity prices, currency depreciations, rising costs of consumer goods and disruptions to supply chains around the region.

The major oil-exporting countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Chad and Cameroon are mostly affected with the decimation of foreign currency earnings which has affected government revenues.

There is the possibility that the number of people who contracted the virus will be exceeded by the number that will be affected by the strident social and economic rise.

The Nigerian inflation rate accelerated to 13.71% (year-on-year) in September 2020. An obvious 0.49% point higher than 13.22% recorded in August 2020. This was indicated in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Read Also: Tackling Inflation through Food Security

The inflation index accelerated to 16.66% in September 2020 with a 0.66% increase compared to 16% recorded in the previous month, while on a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased to 1.88% compared to 1.67% recorded in August 2020.

The rise in the food index was as a result of the increase in prices of Bread and Cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Meat, Fish, Fruits and Oils and fats.

The September floods in the Northwest region destroyed 90 percent of the two million tons of rice that Kebbi state officials ought to harvest this autumn. The loss is about 20 percent of Nigeria’s rice growth last year.

The crises, floods and maize shortages took place after the end of covid-19 lockdown which adversely affected rainy season planting.

Peace Omenka

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