The World Bank has identified conflict as one of the main drivers of food insecurity in West Africa, particularly in the northwestern part of Nigeria and in the Liptako Gourma region, which borders Burkina Faso, Mali and the Republic of Niger.
In its latest “food security update”, the multilateral institution noted that the number of conflicts and deaths reported between January and June 2022 had already exceeded what had been recorded in the first half of 2021.
According to the report, conflict and deaths are expected to reach an all-time high in 2022, increasing food insecurity in the West African region.
The World Bank has observed that the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has driven up global prices for food, energy and agricultural inputs, has exacerbated atypical trends in local and imported food prices.
“In addition to reduced financial access to food, conflict is one of the main drivers of food insecurity, especially in the Liptako Gourma region and northwestern Nigeria.
“Conflict and deaths are expected to peak in 2022, increasing food insecurity in the region. The number of conflict events and fatalities reported from January to June 2022 has already exceeded what was recorded in the first half of 2021,” the report said, citing the West Africa Food Security Outlook briefing. .
Despite favorable plant growing conditions in many parts of the Sahel, he said fertilizer shortages are expected to limit food production.
The Food Security Update further stated that: “West Africa is highly dependent on fertilizer imports from Russia and Ukraine. Ongoing war leading to major fertilizer shortages and price increases, a fertilizer shortfall of 1.2 to 1.5 million tons is expected.
“These shortages could result in cereal production losses of around 20 million tonnes, equivalent to more than a quarter of production in 2021. In the very short term, the shortage of fertilizers will affect
Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali are the most acute, with supply shortfalls for this year’s agricultural season ranging from 69% (Ghana) to 88% (Mali) in April 2022 (ECOWAS, FAO and WFP 2022 ). »
Giving an overview of the global food situation, the report says information available between April and July 2022 for which food price inflation data is available shows high inflation in almost all low- and middle-income countries.
He noted that 92.9% of low-income countries, 92.7% of lower-middle-income countries and 89% of upper-middle-income countries had experienced inflation levels above 5%. , with many experiencing double-digit inflation. .
The share of high-income countries with high inflation has also increased sharply, with around 83.3% of them experiencing high food price inflation.
In total, the most affected countries are in Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.
On how to make fertilizer accessible and affordable to address the serious threat to food security, the report cites three policy proposals contained in the recent World Bank blog.
First, he urged countries to consider lifting trade restrictions or export bans on fertilizers, adding that as of early June, there were 310 active trade measures.
in 86 countries affecting food and fertilizers, of which around 40% are restrictive.
He pointed out, “In addition, there has been a general shortage of local commercial bank funding in many markets, with the funding needs of manufacturers, traders and importers tripling in some cases.
“To remedy this, the blog proposes to mobilize short-term credit facilities and guarantees. »
The second policy proposal was that fertilizer use should be made more efficient, for example, by providing farmers with appropriate incentives that do not encourage overuse.
This in the context where rich countries consume 100 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, almost twice as much as developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa consumes the least – about 15 kilograms per hectare.
In this case, the bank recommends reworking public policies to encourage productive and sustainable use.
The latest policy proposal was to invest in innovation to develop best practices and new technologies that could help increase production per kilogram of fertilizer used.
“Precision agriculture is an example of improved technology already available. Fertigation, which allows the use of fertilizers in measured quantities, determined using sensors, is another.
“Another option is to supplement conventional fertilizers with bio-fertilizers,” the World Bank said.