By Okeoghene Akubuike
A prominent Development Economist, Prof. Ken Ife, has identified insecurity as the primary driver behind the escalating costs of food in the country.
“Fewer farmers are growing crops and many can no longer go to the farm out of fear.
“Eighty per cent of rural production, processing and marketing of food is done by women.
“Insecurity has made it also dangerous for these women to go to harvest their crops,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
The economist explained that there were five components of inflation and foodstuff basket index was the highest of all the components.
“You have the foodstuff basket index and it is the highest inflation.
`It is five points above the headline inflation which is now 28.92 per cent while the food basket inflation is 33.93 per cent.
“Food inflation has remained at very high altitude for more than three years, which means that whatever is happening to Nigeria’s food equation is systemic,’’ he said.
Ife called on the Federal Government to apply more pressure in tackling insecurity.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), food inflation rate for December 2023 increased to 33.93 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
It reported that the December 2023 level was 10.18 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in December 2022 at 23.75 per cent.
It reported also that the rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis in December 2023 was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, oil and fat, potatoes, yam and other tubers.
The NBS also reported a steady increase in prices of beef, rice, beans, onion, tomato, yam, bread, oil, and other food items in December 2023. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Alli Hakeem