Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Friday, July 12, 2024

Poultry farming sector hit by inflation in Nigeria

Nigeria's poultry farming sector is experiencing widespread problems. Rising costs of feed, drugs, and production have led to the closure of 30 percent of farms within just six months.


Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Health authorities in Nigeria issue warning against locally-made beverages


Nigerian health officials have cautioned against consuming locally-made drinks believed to contribute to the spread of cholera, which has claimed over 60 lives in the country this year. The drinks are often produced by unlicensed traders who often use untreated water. 


Monday, July 1, 2024

Video - Tomato industry in disarray in Nigeria over attack by Tuta absoluta moth pest

The attacks by the pest have resulted in a tomato shortage, hitting markets very hard. Traders are also straining to maintain their regular output, while consumers are struggling to find alternatives.


Friday, June 28, 2024

Ginger farmers in Nigeria struggle after outbreak of disease

Nigeria is one of the world’s leading producers of ginger, but a massive outbreak of fungal disease last year caused millions of dollars of damage. The Nigerian government has launched an emergency recovery intervention to help ginger farmers. Timothy Obiezu reports from Kaduna.


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Video - Cost of making jollof rice in Nigeria surges

Jollof rice, one of Nigeria's most beloved meals, is becoming a rarity in many households as the prices of ingredients have risen by more than 150 percent over the past year.

Related stories: Rising Food Prices in Nigeria Hit Nation’s Beloved Jollof Dish

Video - Ghana-Nigeria rivalry transcends from cuisine to the pitch



Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Nigerian farmers abandon farms after attacks, sending food prices higher

Hassan Ya'u, a 42-year-old maize and sesame seed farmer in Nigeria's northern Katsina state, was tending to his crops early this month when dozens of armed men on motorcycles rode towards his plot and started shooting at close range.

Ya'u and fellow farmer Musa Nasidi managed to escape, but at least 50 people - many of them farmers working their fields at the time - were killed in the attack in the latest in a series of deadly raids on farming areas.

An unknown number of people were abducted in the assault, which was carried out in broad daylight.
Ya'u and Nasidi said the gunmen had attacked their Kankara farming community because farmers had not paid a levy imposed by the armed gang.

Such raids are forcing many farmers to leave their fields, contributing to higher food prices and soaring inflation as Nigeria faces the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

"They set ablaze my produce and took away foodstuff worth about 4 million naira ($2,739.73)," said Ya'u, who has sought refuge in Daura town, nearly 200 km (124 miles) from Kankara.

"I don't have access to my farm because bandits have taken control of the area. Everything has been ruined," added the father of 13 children who faces an uncertain future.

Armed gangs demand as much as three million naira per village, depending on the size, to allow farmers to work.

"The farmers are even forming vigilante groups to make sure they are able to access the farms but it is still very difficult," said Kabir Ibrahim, president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria produces the bulk of the country's staples like rice, yam and maize, but it is also its most unstable region, as armed kidnapping gangs attack and pillage villages in the northwest while Islamist militants cause havoc in the northeast.

Nasidi, 36, fled to near Katsina town after the Kankara attack.

He used to harvest about 400 bags of groundnuts, 80 bags of sesame seed and 200 bags of maize, he said, but now faces a bleak year after part of his 8.5-hectare farm was set ablaze by bandits.

"The situation is beyond our control and I was left with no choice other than to leave Kankara because our lives were in danger," Nasidi told Reuters.

A World Food Programme report on the outlook for acute food insecurity globally said Nigeria has joined the world's "hunger hotspots", which analysts attribute to insecurity in farming areas and high costs of seed, fertiliser, chemicals and diesel.

Lagos-based consultancy SBM Intelligence said 1,356 farmers in Nigeria were killed since 2020. This year, 137 deaths had been recorded, it said, adding that farming was becoming a dangerous occupation.

"The risk is very grave," said Confidence McHarry, SBM's lead security analyst, adding that gunmen also attacked farmers "on suspicion of collaborating with the military."

Defence spokesperson Major General Edward Buba said that with the rainy season under way, the military was prioritising farmers' security.

"The farmers union are keying into the farm protection plan of the armed forces to make the best of the rainy season," he said, without elaborating.

But for 22-year-old farmer Abdulaziz Gora in Zamfara state, next to Katsina, there is little hope of returning to his farm. He relocated to state capital Gusau after a violent attack on his village in May, abandoning his soybean and maize crops.

"Anyone caught there risks being kidnapped or killed," he said. 

By Ope Adetayo and Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters

Related story: Nigeria gunmen kill at least 25 in village raid, officials say

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nigeria Spends $600m Importing Palm Oil Annually

The National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) says Nigeria spends $600 million on palm oil importation annually.

Alphonsus Inyang, the national president of the association, stated this in an interview with NAN yesterday in Abuja. He described the expenses as unhealthy for national development.

Inyang said the money could be saved and injected into the economy if the palm oil sub-sector was given due attention by successive governments.

The president regretted that Nigeria, which was self-sufficient in palm oil production in the past, now spends a huge amount to import the same product.

Inyang recalled that in the 60s, Nigeria was number one in palm oil production and exportation globally, controlling over 60 per cent of world palm oil.

He said that the reverse was the case at the moment as over 50 percent of what we consume is imported.

“At the moment, the country occupies the fifth position in the league of palm oil-producing countries after Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Colombia.

“Nigeria may even lose the position to smaller countries who are investing heavily in the sector.

“Indonesia occupies the first position, producing 50 million metric tons, Malaysia second with 19 million metric tons, Thailand 3.28 million and Colombia 1.9 million metric tonnes,” he said.

The president attributed the challenge to the neglect of the sector by successive governments.

Inyang said that based on the U.S. The Department of Agriculture, Nigeria currently occupies fifth position in the league of palm oil-producing countries with 1.5 percent or 1.4 million metric tonnes of the world’s total output.

“Nigeria was overthrown as the world’s largest palm oil producer and exporter by Malaysia and Indonesia in 1966.

“Currently, Nigeria is the largest consumer of the product in the continent, consuming approximately three million metric tons yearly.

“Domestic production stands at less than 1.4 million metric tons, leaving a deficit of over 1.6 million metric tonnes,’’ he said.

Inyang specifically called on the federal ministry of agriculture and food security, to support NPPAN members with seedlings to develop 250,000 hectares per year.

“Our members can plant up to 250,000 hectares per year through the association’s National Oil Palm Strategy Development Plan; all we want are inputs.

“The government does not need to give and develop land for us, we need seedlings, fertilisers, logistics and implements to close this gap within four years.

“We will also create new millionaires in 28 states of the federation,” he said.


Related story: Video - Nigerian palm farmers eye lucrative opportunities in domestic market

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Video - Price of ram skyrockets in Nigeria as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

The country is facing its most expensive Sallah celebration in almost 30 years, as the price of ram hits a record high. The West African nation is experiencing its highest inflation rate, jeopardizing one of the most cherished rituals during Islam's Eid al-Adha - ram slaughtering.


Related story: Video - Soaring fuel prices in Nigeria threaten agricultural prosperity


Monday, June 10, 2024

Video - Hike in number of malnourished children overwhelms health facilities in Nigeria

Doctors Without Borders reported that its Nigerian health facilities are dealing with severely malnourished children with life-threatening complications. The group says the number of admitted cases doubled in April due to violent conflicts.


Related story: Video - Soaring fuel prices in Nigeria threaten agricultural prosperity


Friday, June 7, 2024

Video - UNICEF fights malnutrition in Nigeria

The United Nations Children's Fund's effort involves training women in nutrient-rich farming and cooking techniques. This program aims to reduce food expenses and address the region’s persistent malnutrition issues.


Monday, June 3, 2024

Nigeria strike: ‘My monthly pay won't buy a bag of rice’

As an indefinite general strike begins in Nigeria, one worker tells the BBC that it’s impossible to survive on what the government is proposing as a minimum wage as it is not enough to buy a bag of rice.

Security guard Mallam Magaji Garba says he needs 50kg of rice, which costs 75,000 naira ($56; £44), to feed his family each month, before taking other expenses into account.

The minimum wage is currently 30,000 naira, which the government is offering to double.

Nigeria's unions under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are demanding it be raised to 494,000 naira, which they say reflects the current economic realities.

Nigerian information minister says accepting the union demands would cripple the economy and lead to job losses because business would not be able to pay their workers and so have to close.

The walkout has caused disruption at the country’s busiest airport, Murtala Muhammed International in Lagos, with passengers saying they have been left stranded outside the domestic terminal.

Workers in health, banking, aviation and other major sectors are expected to stay away from work, a move that will cripple the West African country's economy.

Mr Magaji, who works for the education ministry in the northern city of Kano, says he and his family of 14 are struggling to survive.

“I am calling on the government to consider us and increase the minimum wage so that we can live and eat decently.

“It’s not fair that we have top government officials earning millions monthly and the smallest workers earn so little and finding it difficult to feed.”

The 59-year-old said he sometimes has to walk to work as he cannot afford to pay for transport.

Nigerians have been hit by a double whammy of the removal of a fuel subsidy and a collapse in the value of the naira since President Bola Tinubu took office a year ago.

Mr Tinubu says the measures are necessary to reform the economy so it works better in the long term but in the short term, inflation has risen to nearly 34%.

The government has ended the policy of pegging the value of the naira to the US dollar, allowing it to dramatically depreciate. Whereas 10,000 naira would have bought $22 last May, it will now only purchase $6.80.

Mansur Abubakar, BBC 

Related story: Video - Soaring food prices in Nigeria strain family budgets on staples

Monday, May 20, 2024

Video - Nigeria sesame industry booms as global demand continues to surge

With experts predicting a 500 percent growth in the country's sesame seed exports in the coming years, stakeholders want to make sure the sesame seed supply chain is properly managed.


Related story: Video - Soaring fuel prices in Nigeria threaten agricultural prosperity


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Nigeria approves GMO Corn for planting

Amidst concerns over the adoption of Genetically Modified Crops in Nigeria, the federal government, in January, approved the commercial release of four “Tela maize” varieties for commercial planting in the country.

The move placed Nigeria second in the list of African countries that have adopted and commercialised the “T maize” varieties after South Africa, a report published in February, by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) noted.

“In addition to South Africa, Nigeria has become the second country in Africa to approve the commercialization of genetically engineered corn,” the report said.

Tela maize is a maize variety that has been genetically engineered for improved insect resistance and drought tolerance, to boost farmers’ yield per hectare and also complement existing demand gaps.

GMO debate in Nigeria

Over the past decade, the adoption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), commonly referred to as GM seeds by crop farmers has been a subject of intense debate among scientists, environmentalists and even food activists in Nigeria and globally.

The question of what role, if any, GMOs should play in helping to address a range of agriculture, nutrition, and climatic challenges in developing countries like Nigeria has been at the centre of discussions.

Also, concerns have emerged over the environmental and health impacts of GMOs, their impact on traditional farming methods, and issues around seed patents.

Governments in developing nations are responding to those concerns in a variety of ways with some banning GMOs outright, some embracing the technology, and others attempting to find a balance between the concerns and needs of all sides.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), at least 33 major food crops have been genetically modified globally. Of these, four (maize, cowpea, cotton and soybean) have been officially approved for commercialisation by the Nigerian authorities, with Nigeria listed among the six African countries leading in biotech crop adoption across the continent.

Tela maize is the latest GM variety approved for commercial planting in Nigeria.

Some experts have argued that planting GM seeds will help to produce enough food for the global population, hence achieving food security at a fast pace. Others have also argued that food productivity can be improved through natural methods.

A PREMIUM TIMES investigation in 2022 revealed that, while promoters of GMOs are working to counter criticisms and ensure safety, concerns are not the only challenge hindering the adoption of GMOs in Nigeria. It was discovered that across several communities in Nigeria, farmers growing GM crop varieties know too little to make informed decisions.

Tela maize potentials

According to the report by the USDA, in the marketing year 2022/2023, Nigeria produced an estimated 12.7 million metric tons (MMT) of corn, with an average yield of 2.2 tons per hectare. However, it noted that the adoption of the new maize varieties could increase the country’s production capacity significantly.

According to the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), yields of Tela maize could reach up to 10 tons per hectare if grown under good agronomic practices, the report said.

Reports indicated that the Nigerian authorities officially commercialised Tela maize varieties on 11 January, following an announcement by the Nigeria National Committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds/Fisheries.

At the time, the group approved twenty-three new GM varieties for commercial planting, including four biotech Tela maize varieties. This implies that seed companies can license rights to produce and commercialise the new Tela maize hybrids under their private brand from AATF.

The AATF also noted that the approved varieties are owned by the respective institutions that developed them including the national government research organisations, and that they will be licensed to local seed companies royalty-free through the AATF.


According to the report, the Tela Maize Project was originally known as the Water Efficient Maize for Africa Project. Nigeria first joined the Tela Maize Project in 2019.

The project is perceived to have been driven by the move to develop a high-yielding maize variety that would be drought tolerant amidst lingering climate change effects, and at the same time be resistant to the highly virulent Fall ArmyWorm pest (FAW) that ravaged several corn fields across the country in 2016.

Some studies have posited that FAW can reduce corn production in affected areas by 20 to 50 per cent if not properly controlled, eventually leading to higher production costs through increased labour and pesticide applications.

However, the process towards the adoption of Tela maize in Nigeria began in 2021 after the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) approved the environmental release and field trials of the maize varieties categorised as SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T.

Nigeria’s Institute for Agricultural Research carried out national performance trials of the four varieties across ten states with varied agroecological conditions.

According to reports, the trials showed average yields achieving 3 tons per hectare.


The adoption of Tela maize generated controversies among anti-GMO groups in Nigeria, particularly the environmental think-tank Health of Mother Earth Foundation ( HOMEF) and several other groups, who issued a joint statement at the time condemning GMO adoption in the country.

While commending the intention of the Nigerian authorities to address food insufficiency in the country, HOMEF expressed disappointment over the release of the genetically modified varieties.

The group noted that there is no evidence of a risk assessment conducted before the release of the Tela maize on either the website of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), the agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating the uses of GMOs or the Biosafety Clearing House of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, where parties are expected to upload updates on their decisions/use of GMOs/LMOs.

In his reaction, HOMEF’s Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, said, “It is totally unacceptable that in the name of food sufficiency, the country is exposing its citizens to products of risky technologies without adequate, independent and/or long-term assessment on their impacts on human and environmental health.”

The environmentalist said there are many challenges associated with genetic modification crops that cannot be denied.

So far, he claimed that GMOs have been linked to cancers, diseases, allergies, and all sorts of health challenges due to environmental implications because of their dependency on toxic pesticides and the destruction of biodiversity and nutritional diversity.

“We are also concerned that there is no way to label or inform our farmers that they are planting GMO maize. To deny Nigerians the right of choice is highly objectionable and wicked,” Mr Bassey noted.

He said it is expedient that the government conduct independent long-term feeding tests and environmental/biodiversity assessments before any GM crop is approved for use and not merely testing to confirm productivity or performance.

Mr Bassey charged the Nigerian government to understand the difficulties of recalling genetically modified living organisms and to quickly withdraw the Tela maize.

Meanwhile, according to a statement issued by the NBMA last week, the Director-general of the agency, Agnes Asagbra, claimed that Tela maize has not been launched in the country.

“It’s crucial to note that though it has been commercialised, Tela maize has not yet been launched; it is not available in the market. This demonstrates our commitment to thorough scrutiny and due diligence,” she said in a statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES.

Mrs Asagbra described Tela maize as a variety that has been rigorously evaluated through risk assessments and regulatory processes before its approval.

She noted that the GM crops that have been approved were critically evaluated by Nigerian scientists who are professionals with vast experience and expertise in their fields.

“Their assessments are meticulous, ensuring that only safe and beneficial technologies reach our farmers and consumers,” she said.

She emphasised that the country’s biosafety law is critical in the quest for Nigeria to achieve food security.

“Biosafety is not just a policy; it’s a commitment to safeguarding our nation’s health, biodiversity, and environment. In regulating the activities of modern biotechnology, biosafety ensures that any technological advancements, particularly in agriculture, are beneficial and pose no harm to our people or our land, “ the agency said.

Mrs Asagbra urged Nigerians to embrace the advancements in safe modern biotechnology with an informed perspective.

“Let us trust in the rigorous processes that have been established to protect us all. Together, we can move towards a future where food security, environmental sustainability, and economic growth go hand in hand,” she said.

Experts react

In his reaction, the Executive Director of Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Lateef Sanni, said Nigeria is blessed with land and water resources to produce a wide range of agricultural products with high yield if research is taken seriously.

Mr Sanni, a Professor of Food Science and Technology, emphasised that Nigeria cannot continue to rely on breeders from other parts of the world for hybrid seeds.

He argued that the food situation in the country, the global acceptance of genetically modified foods, and the need for environmental sustainability, suggest that Nigerian farmers should accept Tela Maize for planting.

However, Mr Sanni said, this should not be taken as a permanent solution to getting the right breed of maize with good yield for farmers.

“Our breeders need to wake up to the task, and they need the support of government, private sectors, and farmers to be able to come up with quality seeds that will guarantee bountiful harvest,” he noted.

On his part, Qrisstuberg Amua, Executive Director, Centre for Food Safety and Agricultural Research, noted that citizens have every reason to be worried about Tela maize adoption in the country.

“Not only citizens, our political and economic leaders also have a lot to be worried about this development,” he told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview on Monday.

He said citizens should be worried about the new maize varieties for reasons ranging from its health implications and lack of sufficient details about the maize, adding that the health implications of GMOs are motley and that they are negative, coming in the forms of cancers resulting from hormonal or endocrine and immune system disruptions.

Mr Amua listed other possible health implications of GMOs to include fertility sterilisations, metabolic derangements, cardiovascular health disruptions, children obesity and attendant issues thereto, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in children, mental health derangements and early memory decay (dementia) in individuals above 40 years of age and so much more.

He emphasised that the adverse health implications could emanate from both the genetic modifications of the organism which often involve recombinant splicing or stitching of DNA either through manipulations of specialised proteins that make the Messenger RNA (MRNA) or through what looks more like cut and join using the CRISPR (an acronym for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) technology.

Also, Mr Amua said from the many pesticides like glyphosate (the primary active ingredient in the commercially ubiquitous ‘Roundup’) and irks, that are used in the biotechnological engineering that ensures these GMOs are pest resistant, the varieties can tolerate the application of higher concentrations of phytotoxic pesticides as herbicides.

Based on this, the professor of bioinorganic chemistry said some of the GMOs are labelled as “Roundup Ready’ or RR” such as the RR Corn or RR Soy.

“Also, there are adverse health implications to the environment due to unregulated applications of these carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic arrays of pesticides, as a result of higher tolerance of these GMOs to pesticides, generally,” Mr Amua said.

These environmental toxins, he said, tend to persist in the environment and weave their way up the food chain and ultimately into humans through menu choices.

“This is one other reason for the burgeoning cases of otherwise not so rampant non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, dyslipidemia, arthritis, etc. nowadays even in younger populations of our communities,” he said.

He stressed that the adoption of GMOs has adverse implications for the food production system and biodiversity, as their promotion encourages monocropping and eventual extermination of rather organic and even indigenous seed types.

“Lastly, they pose adverse economic implications and even strategic food and general security implications; as when a foreign multinational controls your food supply system (as these GMOs are patented products of non-national conglomerates), your economy and even strategic security can easily be compromised from outside of your shores,” he said.

He urged the Nigerians to reject all GMOs and also engage in various levels of personal and community education, sensitisation, and advocacy to demand the withdrawal/repeal of policies and legislation that allow licensing and indeed permit the cultivation, distribution and public consumption of GMOs.

“We should also rethink our consumption patterns to return to wholesome organic and indigenous foods that are not genetically modified,” he said.

By Abdulkareem Mojeed, Premium Times 

Related story: Monsanto planning to takeover agriculture in Nigeria

Video - Nigeria aims to ramp up cocoa production amid global shortages

With increasing global demand for chocolate and cocoa prices soaring due to the worst supply shortage in four decades, Nigeria is looking to boost local cocoa production to capitalize on this opportunity.


Related story: Video - Cocoa grown illegally in rainforest in Nigeria heads to companies that supply major chocolate makers


Friday, April 19, 2024

Nestle accused of adding sugar to infant formulas in Nigeria

Nestle Nigeria, a subsidiary of Nestle, a global food and beverage company, has denied adding sugar to its products sold in Nigeria, insisting it is not violating the global guidelines for infant formulas.

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday and shared with PREMIUM TIMES by the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Victoria Uwadoka.

Nestle Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Swiss-based multinational company, said it complies with the global requirements on the usage of sugar and supplies quality products to every part of the world.

The company’s statement is in response to an earlier inquiry by PREMIUM TIMES on the development. Ms Uwadoka had requested that a mail be sent by our reporter and pledged a response as soon as possible, saying she was far away from the office.


The statement counters the findings of a recent investigation, which revealed that Nestle had been selling substandard infant food products to Nigeria and other low and middle-income countries.

The investigation, carried out by the Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation, in collaboration with the International Baby Food Action Network, revealed that Nestle provides its best quality to Europe and other developed nations but supplies substandard products to low- and middle-income countries across the world.

“For NestlĂ©, not all babies are equal when it comes to added sugar,” the report said.

Samples of Nestle’s baby food products sold in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were sent to Belgium for laboratory testing.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported some of the findings which significantly involved Nigeria.

Sugar in Nigeria Cerelac

Traces of sugar, such as sucrose or honey, were found in samples of Cerelac, a cereal for children between six months and two years old, and Nido, a follow-up milk formula brand intended for infants at least one year old.

Reacting to these claims, Nestle Nigeria said the multinational company provided the same nutrition, health, and wellness principles everywhere in the world.

According to the company, Cerelac may have slight variations in recipes worldwide.

It also said, “In Europe, NestlĂ©’s range of cereals comes with and without added sugars.

“ Like everywhere in the world, in Nigeria, we do not add sugars (sucrose and glucose) to Infant formula for children aged 0-12 months.

It said, “These principles are aligned with both international and local guidelines, noting that baby formulas in Nigeria for children 0-12 do not add sugar contents. Nigeria, our Growing Up Milk have no added sugars.

“Our milk and cereals for young children are fortified with vitamins and minerals such as iron to help tackle malnutrition.”

High sugar in Nigeria’s Cerelac

Cerelac from Nigeria had the second-highest sugar content, with 6.8g per serving. The country closely follows the Philippines, which has 7.3g.

The report said, “On average, our analysis found almost 4 grams per serving or about one sugar cube.”

Nigeria was ranked 7th out of 10 countries with high sugar content in Nido. According to the report, samples from Nigeria and Senegal, ranked 8th, had 0.6g.

The highest sugar content was found in Panama samples, at 5.3g per serving. Then came Nicaragua 4.7g; Mexico 1.8g; Costa Rica 1.6g; South Africa 0.9g; and Indonesia 0.7g.

By Beloved John, Premium Times

Related story: Nigeria recalls J&J children's cough syrup over toxic substance

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Video - Soaring food prices in Nigeria strain family budgets on staples

Many people in Nigeria are shocked at the surge in the cost of cassava flakes. Production of cassava flakes or garri, as they are locally known,, is being hampered by rising insecurity which has led to death and kidnapping of farmers for ransom.


Related stories: Video - Soaring fuel prices in Nigeria threaten agricultural prosperity

Video - Rising Food Prices spark protests and smuggling in Nigeria


Monday, March 25, 2024

Video - Nigeria food banks cut back on handouts as prices soar

At a warehouse in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, dozens of women patiently wait their turn to receive food handouts. Among them is 68-year-old widow Damilola Salami, who received an invitation to the facility just as she had almost run out of food.

The Lagos Food Bank is a crucial lifeline to residents like Salami, but has seen supplies from private and other donors fall as inflation soars in Africa's biggest economy.

Nigeria is grappling with the worst cost of living crisis in decades, which has deepened since President Bola Tinubu rolled out bold but unpopular economic reforms after assuming office last May.

"There is nothing for us to eat, we are hungry," said Salami as she waited for her share of food and cooking oil. "Our children are out of school because of the increase in fees. Now, the children are at home and there is no food."

Mabel Wade, an 80-year-old charcoal seller, said sustenance was scarce and she often relied on neighbours before she was told of the food bank.

"Sometimes there is no food to eat at all... Sometimes, it is biscuit and water," she said, after registering for food stamps.

Last month a stampede broke out and killed seven people at a food distribution centre in Lagos.
World Bank data shows that 46% of Nigeria's population was deemed poor in 2023. Twenty million of them live in urban areas.

In the past, the imposing warehouse of Lagos Food Bank would be fully stocked with bags of Nigerian staples like rice, beans and vegetable oil. Not anymore.

Founder Michael Sunbola said the facility's major donor had cut supplies by 93%, citing the high cost of food.

The food bank has now dialled back on quantities, providing families with enough supplies for a few days at a time when once their parcels would have lasted two weeks. The facility is also having to "narrow down the number of people we want to reach out to", said Sunbola of the people invited to use the service.

"Now, we do only women from the age of 50," he told Reuters.

No Hunger Initiatives, a food bank serving mostly internally displaced people in the capital Abuja, faces similar problems.

The number of people seeking food handouts has tripled since May 2023 but the facility is unable to keep up because donors have cut back supplies by half due to rising inflation, said Kumdet Yilkon, a senior official. 

By Ope Adetayo, Reuters 

Related stories: Video - Soaring fuel prices in Nigeria threaten agricultural prosperity

Video - Impact of rising food prices in Nigeria on Ramadan

Video - Nigeria secures $134 million to tackle food crisis

Video - Rising Food Prices spark protests and smuggling in Nigeria

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Video - Impact of rising food prices in Nigeria on Ramadan

As the holy month of Ramadan continues, Muslims in Nigeria are grappling with the issue of high living costs. There are concerns that they may have to reduce expenses due to the growing inflationary pressures.


Related stories: Video - Nigeria secures $134 million to tackle food crisis

Video - Bakers in Nigeria threaten shutdown amidst rising production costs

Video - Rising Food Prices spark protests and smuggling in Nigeria



Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Video - Nigeria secures $134 million to tackle food crisis

The facility from the African Development Bank will be used to grow essential crops such as rice, maize, cassava, and soybeans. It's part of the Nigerian government's effort to tackle the nation's deepening food crisis. About 8 percent of Nigerians are food insecure, according to the International Monetary Fund.


Related stories: Video - Bakers in Nigeria threaten shutdown amidst rising production costs

Video - Rising Food Prices spark protests and smuggling in Nigeria