Even before COVID-19 reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains, chronic and acute hunger was on the rise due to various factors including conflict, socio-economic conditions, natural hazards, climate change, and pests.
One year after the emergence of the dreaded pandemic there is an increasing number of countries now facing growing levels of acute food insecurity, further reversing years of development gains.
COVID-19 impacts have led to severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity, affecting vulnerable households in almost every country, with impacts expected to continue through 2021 and into 2022.
Surging prices reflect strong demand, along with weather uncertainties, macroeconomic conditions, and COVID-19-related supply disruptions, even though the global production outlook for major grains remains good.
The primary risks to food security are at the country level: Higher retail prices, combined with reduced incomes, mean more and more households are having to cut down on the quantity and quality of their food consumption.
Nigeria like other countries is experiencing high food price inflation at the retail level, reflecting lingering supply disruptions due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, currency devaluations, and other factors. Rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low- and middle-income countries since they spend a larger share of their income on food than people in high-income countries.
Some food producers also face losses on perishable and nutritious food as consumption patterns shift towards cheaper staples. Though current food insecurity is by and large not driven by food shortages, supply disruptions and inflation affecting key agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, or prolonged labor shortages could diminish next season’s crop. If farmers are experiencing acute hunger, they may also prioritize consuming seeds as food today over planting seeds for tomorrow, raising the threat of food shortages later on.
In the Emerging Food Security Crisis, Governments and international partners must begin to closely monitor domestic food and agricultural supply chains, track how the loss of employment and income is impacting people’s ability to buy food, and ensure that food systems continue to function despite COVID-19 challenges.
This has been through a combination of short-term COVID-19 responses and investments to address the longer-term drivers of food insecurity. Efforts must also be intensified in Working Together Against Corona as such will create a positive impact and speed up recovery even from the economic hardship being experienced.
Communities should also invest in building on existing projects and deploying short- and long-term financing systems that will assist farmers and encourage more production