Nigeria, 44 other countries in dire need of food assistance, FAO warns


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that Nigeria and 44 other countries are in need of external food assistance as food production declines in the affected countries.

FAO in its the just released FAO Food Price Index (FPI) that tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, listed the other countries to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Others include Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Also, the FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 1.2 per cent higher than in January. Sorghum prices rose 17.4 per cent in the month under review, driven by ongoing strong demand from China. International prices of maize, wheat and rice were either stable or edged up slightly.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased 0.6 per cent, driven by tight supplies of bovine and ovine meats in key producing regions. By contrast, pig meat price quotations fell, underpinned by reduced purchases by China amidst heavy oversupplies and a rise in unsold pigs in Germany due to the continued ban on exports to Asian markets.

Meanwhile, the organisation projected a record high global wheat production output in 2021, expected to hit a new record of 780 million tonnes, as there are expectations of a rebound in production in the European Union.

Also, maize production in South Africa is expected to reach near-record levels in 2021, while outputs in South America are forecast at well above-average levels.

Other projections for the year include a 2.0 per cent annual increase in global cereal utilisation to 2 766 million tonnes and 5.5 per cent growth in world trade in cereals to 464 million tonnes.

Global cereal stocks are now forecast to end 2021 at 811 million tonnes, 0.9 per cent below their opening levels, pushing down the stock-to-use ratio to 28.6 per cent. World rice and wheat stocks are expected to increase, while those of coarse grains to decline.

It is estimated that the aggregate cereal production by the 51 Low-Income Food Deficit Countries rose 3.0 per cent in 2020 from the previous year to 502.4 million tonnes, as recoveries in Southern Africa and the Near East outweighed a decline in Central Africa.

However, aggregate cereal import requirements by the group in the 2020/21 marketing year are expected to rise to 74.1 million tonnes, with the Far East and West Africa sub regions posting the largest additional needs.