WFP warns rising food prices in East Africa

Food Prices
Food Prices

The price of a local food basket has increased by 49 percent over the past 12 months, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said in its latest situation update on the food security conditions in Eastern Africa issued Tuesday.

According to figures from the WFP, the average regional food inflation stood at 27.9 percent. It further said that currencies across the region depreciated against the U.S. dollar between July 2021 and July 2022, with South Sudan and Ethiopia recording the highest year-on-year depreciation in the official and parallel market. Kenya and Uganda also saw their domestic currencies losing value against the U.S. dollar to a lesser extent.

The WFP noted that good harvest in exporting countries and the lifting of the blockade of Ukraine’s ports have pushed global cereal prices down in the past two months. Yet, prospects for 2023 are not favorable as export volumes of grains remain below the 2021 level.

It said global fertilizers prices have also moderated. The surge in prices of natural gas used to produce fertilizers, however, might affect the affordability of agricultural inputs.

The situation, coupled with an anticipated fifth below-average rainfall season, is likely to disrupt harvests for the upcoming October-December season across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa — and worsen an already dire food security situation, the WFP warned.

The WFP also warned that declined imports of food and reduced affordability of fertilizers in the context of prolonged drought are likely to turn the current crisis of affordability of food into a crisis of availability in 2023. Enditem

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