The war has resulted in huge drops in food exports and has triggered price increases of up to 30 percent for food staples. It also pushed women and children on the brink of devastation in some parts of the country. This made the situation difficult for humanitarian aid to reach more people as assistance operations are also suffering the impact of rising food prices.
The number of people suffering inadequate access to food has already increased from 440 million to 1.6 billion due to the costs of staple foods. Projections also indicate that the longer the war goes on, the higher the numbers will be of people who fall into poverty and starve.
This means that around 23.1 million Nigerians cannot eat right, including women, infants and children.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that Nigeria already has the second-highest burden of stunted children in the world with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent for children under five. An estimated two million children are also said to suffer from severe acute malnutrition, and only two out of 10 affected can get treatment.
Those who are born to unemployed or underemployed parents could also be deprived of nutrition necessary in early life. (Related: World Alternative Media: Global food shortage is part of Great Reset agenda.)
Ideally, a healthy mother should have at least a diversified food basket that includes fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice, as per the World Health Organization's recommendations. However, the current trajectory shows that women of childbearing age who are suffering from acute malnutrition could grow higher than seven percent.
Wasiu Afolabi, president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said the war between Ukraine and Russia has worsened the fragility created by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in terms of food supplies. Interventions to prevent the spread of the disease through restriction of movement had earlier strained farming activities at the expected time in some areas.
While other areas are still struggling, regions of the world that play vital roles in grain production also had their supplies blocked. Ukraine and Russia supply around 28 percent of globally traded wheat, 29 percent of barley, 15 percent of maize and 75 percent of sunflower oil.
Nigeria imports over 50 percent of its wheat requirement from Russia and other Black Sea countries, which means that the prolonged war is causing supply disruptions and contributing to high food prices.
The consumer price index, which measures the overall inflation rate, increased to 16.8 percent in April from 15.6 percent in January.
These high prices are very noticeable in food items like bread, making it a cause of concern as six out of 10 Nigerians have already been struggling to gain access to or afford food even before the war started.
"If you look at the price of bread, which has become a staple food for many homes, people cannot afford to buy it anymore," Afolabi said. "And the problem is that when a particular food is affected, other alternatives will also be affected because demand will shift from that one to other available foods."
Food supply to households will be reduced and the most vulnerable people will get less than they already do. When people get less food than is required for their daily living and such a diet persists over time, it could lead to a deficiency of nutrients that is required for people to be healthy. Malnutrition is already increasing, especially among the poor, and is affecting those who are underweight and overweight alike.
The few gains that Nigeria has achieved with food fortification could also be at risk of eroding again. The country recently achieved a high level of food fortification, which reached over 90 percent of the Nigerian market for fortified salt, wheat flour and sugar. (Related: Global hunger crisis on the horizon as US, Britain, Australia, others deliberately demolish their own food production.)
The rate of salt fortified with iodine was at 90 percent in 2021, reaching 185 million Nigerians. Edible oil nourished with vitamin A also rose to 29 percent in 2021 from 33 percent in 2020, reaching 94 million Nigerians. Wheat flour enriched with vitamin A, vitamin B3 and iron in 2021 reached around 134 million or 64 percent of the Nigerian population.
With these numbers, malnutrition could still rise even among those who are not in vulnerable groups.
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This video is from The Prisoner channel on Brighteon.com.