Nigeria and 44 other countries around the world are severely exposed to the impact of the Ukraine-war induced food crisi.
This is according to a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consulting firm.
The study is contained in a new report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), titled The War in Ukraine and the Rush to Feed the World, which explores in detail the multiple direct and indirect impacts of the turmoil in Ukraine on global food systems.
The BCG report is co-authored with Food Systems for the Future.
It also provides 30 near- and medium-term solutions to help respond to the crisis and improve the resilience of global food systems.
It said the affected countries concentrated in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, were hotspots around the world as they were enduring some of the worst effects of the crisis.
According to the BCG report, Nigeria and the other affected countries face severe levels of extreme poverty, compounded by the ongoing economic and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional factors worsening the food crisis identified in the report include heavy reliance on food imports, high import bills, high inflation, a high debt burden, climate risks, and civil unrest.
An estimated 1.7 billion people — most of them in developing economies — could suffer severely increased food insecurity, higher energy prices, or greater debt burdens, according to the UN Task Team for the Global Crisis Response Group.
Managing Director, and Partner at BCG Nigeria, Stefano Niavas, while commenting on the findings, said, “The impact of the Ukraine war on our food systems calls for critical and immediate review of our budgetary allocation.
Currently, Nigeria spends over 27 times of its Agriculture allocation to service its debt. Compounded with the Ukraine war and the lingering challenges of COVID-19, the average ddebt-t-GDP ratio across the continent is expected to rise from 60 per cent to 70 per cent.
To minimise the impact of the crisis on Nigeria’s food systems, the government and all critical stakeholders should therefore ensure the stability of the rising cost of food and fertilizer by the provision of viable seedlings, supporting the growth of alternative nutritious grains, driving the adoption of innovative farm practices.
The introduction of alternative sources of fertilizer will help reduce the country’s reliance on food imports.”
Together, Russia and Ukraine account for about 12 per cent of the total food calories traded around the world.
According to the International Food Policy Institute, both countries are critical exporters of key commodities such as wheat (28 per cent of global trade) and sunflower oil (69 per cent).
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) buys from Ukraine half of the wheat it distributes around the world.
Meanwhile, , as exports from these countries tumble, some other leading exporting countries have announced export bans or licensing restrictions designed to protect their own food stockpiles.