Nigeria and 44 other countries around the world are severely exposed to the Ukraine war-induced food crisis, a report by a global management consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), has disclosed.
BCG, in its report titled; ‘The war in Ukraine and the rush to feed the world,’ noted that it explored in detail the multiple direct and indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine on global food systems.
According to the BCG report, Nigeria and the other affected countries faced severe levels of extreme poverty, compounded by the ongoing economic and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It revealed that additional factors worsening the food crisis included: heavy reliance on food imports, high import bills, high inflation, a high debt burden, climate risks, and civil unrest.
Speaking on the report, the Managing Director and Partner at BCG Nigeria, Stefano Niavas, pointed out that the impact of the Russia/Ukraine war on food systems calls for critical and immediate review of the budgetary allocation.
He said, “Currently, Nigeria spends over 27 times of its agriculture allocation to service its debt. Compounded with the Ukraine war and the lingering challenges of COVID-19, the average debt-to-GDP ratio across the continent is expected to rise from 60 per cent to 70 per cent.”
Proffering solutions, Niavas said to minimise the impact of the crisis on Nigeria’s food systems, the government and all critical stakeholders should ensure stabilising the rising costs of food and fertilisers.
“This can be done by the provision of viable seedlings, supporting the growth of alternative nutritious grains, and driving the adoption of innovative farm practices. The introduction of alternative sources of fertilisers will help reduce the country’s reliance on food imports,” he added.