Food inflation has skyrocketed around the world, with African countries bearing the brunt of the consequences. The World Bank’s most recent food security assessment shed light on an alarming situation, emphasizing the difficulty that several African countries have in feeding their populations in the face of rising food costs. Domestic food price inflation remains alarmingly high on multiple continents.
The human impact is evident as families resort to skipping meals and stretching meager rations, turning basic staples into unaffordable luxuries. Vulnerable communities face the looming threats of hunger and malnutrition.
According to the World Bank’s food security update, “domestic food price inflation remains high. Inflation higher than five percent in 61.9 percent of low-income countries, 76.1 percent of lower-middle-income countries, 50 percent of upper-middle-income countries, and 57.4 percent of high-income countries”.
“The most affected countries are in Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. In real terms, food price inflation exceeded overall inflation in 74 percent of the 167 countries where data is available “
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report said trade-related policies imposed by countries had surged.
The global food crisis, it added, had been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries to increase domestic supply and reduce prices.
According to the latest report from the Consumer Price Index, November 2023’ report released by the National Bureau of Statistics Nigeria’s food inflation rate increased to 32.84 percent.
The cost of food rose highest in Kogi, Kwara, and Rivers where food inflation in each state surged to 41.29 percent, 40.72 percent, and 40.22 percent respectively.
The food inflation rate in November was 8.72 percentage points higher than what was recorded in November 2022 (24.13 percent).
The report showed that the rise in food prices was caused by increases in the prices of bread and cereals, oil and fat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruit, meat, vegetables, coffee, tea, and cocoa.
Here are the African countries struck by food inflation in 2023
Egypt – (30% YoY)
Egypt, the most populous country in North Africa, is facing an unprecedented food inflation rate of 30% year-on-year. Several factors contribute to this alarming situation, including disruptions in the supply chain, increased production costs, and adverse weather conditions affecting agriculture.
Liberia (15% YoY)
Liberia, a West African nation still recovering from the aftermath of civil conflict, is experiencing a 15% year-on-year increase in food prices. The country faces economic challenges that hinder its ability to absorb shocks in the global food market. Issues such as limited agricultural productivity, insufficient infrastructure, and dependence on food imports contribute to Liberia’s vulnerability to food inflation.
Ghana (10% YoY)
Ghana, known for its stable political climate in West Africa, is grappling with a 10% year-on-year increase in food prices. The country’s commitment to agricultural development and self-sufficiency has been challenged by factors like climate change, rising fuel costs, and global supply chain disruptions.
Zimbabwe (8% YoY)
Zimbabwe, with a history of economic challenges, is experiencing an 8% year-on-year increase in food prices. The country grapples with issues such as land reform, economic instability, and adverse weather conditions affecting agricultural productivity.
Burundi (8% YoY)
Burundi, located in East Africa, is facing an 8% year-on-year increase in food prices. The country, marked by political and economic fragility, encounters challenges related to agricultural productivity, limited access to markets, and dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
Malawi (8% YoY)
Malawi, a landlocked nation in Southeast Africa, is also experiencing an 8% year-on-year increase in food prices. Challenges include climate-related disruptions, limited access to credit for farmers, and inadequate infrastructure.
Government efforts to address food inflation
Increasing domestic production through sustainable agriculture, infrastructural improvements, and improved food systems, to reduce the effect on citizens.
Stabilizing the economy and securing food supplies through policy reforms and global alliances.
Building resilience includes diversifying agriculture, upgrading infrastructure, and expanding social safety nets to protect vulnerable populations from food insecurity and external shocks.
Sustainable agricultural practices that promote climate-smart agriculture and ecologically friendly farming contribute to long-term food security.