CILSS: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone Worst Hit with Food Incation

Gilbert Ekugbe

The March 2024 Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis released by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) has listed Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Mali as the countries worst affected by soaring inflation, stagnating production, currency devaluation and trade barriers.

According to a report obtained from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO’s), website, the prices of major staple grains continue to rise across the region from 10 per cent to more than 100 per cent compared to the five-year average, driven by currency inflation, fuel and transport costs, ECOWAS sanctions, and restrictions on agropastoral product flows. 

The report added, “Currency inflation is a major driver of price volatility in Ghana (23%), Nigeria (30%), Sierra Leone (54%), Liberia (10%), and The Gambia (16%).”

The report also stated that nearly 55 million people in West and Central Africa will struggle to feed themselves by June-August 2024, pointing out that the figure represents a four-million increase in the number of people who are food-insecure compared to the November 2023 forecast and highlights a fourfold increase over the last five years. 

“The situation is particularly worrying in conflict-affected northern Mali, where an estimated 2,600 people are likely to experience catastrophic hunger (IPC/CH phase 5). The latest data also reveals a significant shift in the factors driving food insecurity in the region, beyond recurring conflicts,” it said.

CILSS lamented that despite the abundant natural resources to meet its food demands, 

West and Central Africa remain heavily dependent on imports to meet the population’s food needs, bemoaning that import bills continue to rise due to currency depreciation and high inflation, even as countries struggle with major fiscal constraints and macroeconomic challenges.

On Cereal production for the 2023-2024, CILSS stated that agricultural season shows a deficit of 12 million tonnes, while the per capita availability of cereals is down by two per cent compared to the last agricultural season.

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