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On Wednesday, the World Bank said the ongoing coup d’état in the Niger Republic is very likely to increase the pressure on Nigeria and other West African nations’ food markets.
It stated that the Nigerien coup puts an additional seven million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity in the region against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices, and severe food insecurity already affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season.
The bank stated this in its September ‘Food Security Update.” It said, “The coup d’état in Niger might put additional pressure on West African food markets.”
While describing the implication of economic and financial sanctions the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union imposed on the country, the Washington-based bank stated that food prices increased by up to 21 per cent in August in Niger.
It noted that this limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.
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It said, “With the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance programme, continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme remains essential, but access restrictions are hindering the delivery of aid.
“Moreover, FAO expects that shortages of seeds and feed and high fertilizer costs will affect the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season.”
The bank highlighted that Western and Central Africa was facing a persistent food crisis, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance in the region rising from around 10.7 million in 2019 to almost 29 million in 2021 to more than 40 million in 2022 and 2023.
It stressed that between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse.
It said, “The main factors affecting food security are civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement; climatic shocks; political instability; the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the war in Ukraine, which have increased the volatility of prices for foodstuffs and other commodities and caused widespread inflation. Current food prices of the main staple and imported food products remain higher than during the same period last year.”
New Telegraph recently reported that many vehicles were stuck at Nigeria’s border with Niger at Illela border town of Sokoto State following the July 26 coup in Niger.
Another report estimated that Nigerian-Nigerien trade worth about $226.34m was at risk of breaking down following the border closure between the two countries.