NIGERIA – Amid rising inflation and high food prices in Nigeria, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has announced a temporary cessation of local food procurement until market prices stabilize.

According to WFP, the decision to review its local food procurement follows a recent monitoring exercise in Borno, Yobe, and Kano states, that revealed an alarming surge in food prices, placing additional strain on displaced communities unable to engage in agricultural activities.

David Stevenson, WFP’s Country Director and Representative in Nigeria, underscored the organization’s limited food stocks and its commitment to assisting the most vulnerable Nigerians amidst challenging market conditions.

Stevenson emphasized that WFP will resume purchasing food in Nigeria only when market conditions become conducive for all stakeholders.

“We are aware of traders holding food in their warehouses pretending it is WFP’s. This is inaccurate as WFP has its limited stock only available to continue supporting the most vulnerable Nigerians with critical assistance. We are undertaking a comprehensive review of our local food procurement. WFP will purchase food in Nigeria only when the market conditions are stable for all,” he stated.

In 2024, WFP is planning to reach 1.1 million vulnerable people with food and nutrition assistance in Nigeria.

In the June–August lean season, when hunger is most acute, WFP will increase its support to reach 1.6 million people a month – dependent on available funding, the organization noted.

Soaring inflation and market prices have diminished the purchasing power of numerous Nigerian families, particularly in the conflict-stricken Northeast region of the country.

The escalating food prices have prompted major industries to temporarily suspend purchasing essential grains such as maize and sorghum to allow local price stabilization.

Recently, food producers- Olam Agric and Nigeria Flour Mills’s Premier Feed Mills Ltd also temporarily suspended purchasing grains such as maize and sorghum over the rapid increase in prices.

The World Bank projected in its Food security report that seven states across Northern Nigeria will witness a severe food crisis. Also, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned that around 26.5 million Nigerians will face hunger in 2024.

These projections seem to be manifesting now as increasing food prices prevent many from having a decent meal.

To find a temporary solution to the food security crisis, the federal government has decided to release grains from the national reserve as a measure to crash prices of the commodities.

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