A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the rise in the cost of foods (and other non-agric items) has pushed the country’s inflation rate to 17.33 percent in February 2021.
The NBS said on Tuesday that food inflation rose from 20.57 percent in January 2021 to 21.79 percent in February, making it the highest point since 2009.
In its latest Consumer Price Index report, it explained that the inflation rate was pushed up in February by the rising price of bread, cereals, fish, potatoes, yam and other tubers, vegetables, meat, oils and fats, fruits and food products.
On the other hand, core inflation, which excludes the prices of agricultural products, increased to 12.38 percent in February compared to 11.85 percent recorded in the previous month.
Experts have predicted the increase in the price of foods following the suspended food blockade by food and cattle suppliers last month.
In reaction to the development, the Commissioner of Finance & Economic Development at Ekiti State Government, Akintunde Oyebode hinged the continuous rise in food prices to the poor and low level of “ storage and irrigation infrastructure” in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
He, however, advised the government to dedicate funds from the Anchors Borrower’s Programme (an agricultural finance initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria) to address these challenges.
“Will keep saying it, devote half of the money used for ABP to building storage and irrigation infrastructure, that’s how you protect countries against food price volatility. All season planting and reserves to cover months of consumption”, he said in a series of tweets on his Twitter handle @AO1379.
“Less than 5% of our farmlands have irrigation infrastructure; storage capacity is sub 4% of output. Compare that with SA – 30% irrigation coverage + 30 million tonne storage capacity.
“We need to think big and solve serious problems. Agric ministry should have one KPI: establish 4-6 Agro-industrial processing zones across Nigeria with security, storage, irrigation, and road infrastructure. That’s the job, nothing else,” he concluded.