Global researchers and agricultural scientists have said that stockpiling and trade restrictions by countries producing major food grains could lead to intercontinental food shortage, hunger and malnutrition for food import-dependent countries.
The fear is intensified as the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet) predicted crop failures as climate change induces elongated droughts amid insecurity for farmers, following the inability of armed forces to tame banditry and terrorism.
Hence, experts said Nigeria would become vulnerable, as wheat, maize, rice and other food and industrial crops are in short supply locally.
Affirming the possibility of the food crisis, a grain breeder and Vice-Chancellor of Al-Qalam University, Prof. Shehu Garki Ado, said the COVID-19 pandemic, locust infestations, drought and labour shortages are factors responsible for food supply chain disruptions, threatening food security around the world. He added that the effects of the factors are more pronounced in food-import countries without food reserves, “and Nigeria is one of them.”
Climate change — producing extreme conditions of floods, excessive heat, drought and pest infestation — has grossly affected food production, especially in developing countries where rain-fed agriculture and labour-intensive practices are common.
In a recent study published in the Nature Food, it was pointed out that trade restrictions and stockpiling of supplies by a few key countries, such as the United States, Thailand and other developed agricultural systems, could create global food price spikes and severe local shortages during times of threat.
“We quantified the potential effects of these co-occurring global and local shocks globally with their impacts on food security,” explains Aalto University Associate Professor Matti Kummu.
Results of this research have critical implications on how nations should prepare for future events like COVID-19, he said.
The researchers modelled future scenarios to investigate the impact of export restrictions and local production shocks of rice, wheat, and maize would have on their supplies and prices.
“These three crops form the backbone of global trade in staple crops and are essential for food security across the globe.