WFP Will Buy Nigerian Food Only Under Stable Market Conditions – Country Director


With its local food procurement under review, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will buy food in Nigeria only in stable market conditions.

This is contained in a statement on Wednesday by the international organisation, where it said the decision was made amid rising inflation and high food prices exacerbated by market speculation in Nigeria.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on February 15, 2024, reported food inflation rate in January this year was 35.41 percent on a year-on-year basis.

This is 11.1 percent points higher compared to 24.32 percent rate recorded in January 2023.

The bureau said the rise in food inflation was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, oil and fat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, meat, and fruit.

WFP said it “noted high inflation rates, and food price rises”, during a monitoring mission in Borno, Yobe, and Kano States.

The organisation also stated that this presented significant challenges for Nigerians, especially for those who are displaced, unable to cultivate, and reliant on markets for food.

Said WFP: “High rates of inflation and soaring market prices have reduced the purchasing power of many Nigerian families, especially those in the conflict-affected North-East Nigeria.

“The November 2023 Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis projected that up to 4.4 million people in the North-East States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe would require food assistance during the June-August 2024 lean season, with over 1 million people facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC/CH phase 4).

“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”.

David Stevenson, WFP’s country director and representative in Nigeria, said the organisation was aware of traders holding food in their warehouses pretending it was WFP’s.

Said he: “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”.

Meanwhile, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on February 15, 2024, said he would not establish a price control board or approve the importation of food as measures to address the economic hardship in the country.

Tinubu made this known after Vice-President Kashim Shettima, on February 13, said the Federal Government planned to set up a commodity board to regulate the soaring prices of food in the country.

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