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Flood Aftermath: Food Prices To Rise

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The Country Manager, Cassava Adding Value for Africa (CAVA), Dr Kola Adebayo, said farmers have not been able to cover up for the short fall of supply since the destructive floods that hit farm lands in many areas of the country some few months ago.

Consequently, food prices will remain high, except there are good harvests in July and August for most basic foods to help prices to fall back.

He said the severe weather damaged supplies and devastated harvests of most staples in places such as Delta and Kogi states.

As a result, he said production is expected to be lower this year and production is expected to lag behind the growing demand for food which is a factor because the higher the demand on a platform of short supply, the prices will increase.

He also said crop damage from 2012 flooding was more severe than initially reported. There were significant flood-related crop losses, infrastructure damage, and atypical trade flows were observed.

Cassava, yam, maize, and sorghum losses were particularly high. There are fears of drought and water shortages in the North.

A Consultant to the World Bank, Prof Abel Ogunwale, said farmers must prepare for higher temperatures later in the year. According to him, climate change is going to have a domino effect on food security, going by predictions.

Right now, he said farmers are planting and there is little rain. According to him, the climate condition is not convincing enough to prove there will be no adverse weather.

However, he said there are indications that suggest climatic conditions could worsen later in the year. The devastating floods that wrought havoc happened around August.

He noted that it was too early to pronounce that floods are not coming. Most staple crops are expected to be badly hit by increasing severity of weather.

Ogunwale expects more incidents of heavy rains to affect food production and with farmers cultivating a lower number of acreage, supplies will be reduced and prices may rise.

The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock productivity, because critical thresholds are already being exceeded.

In most part of the North, crop losses are increasingly being caused by extreme weather events, insect attacks and diseases. As a result, many states have seen food production decline significantly.

However, with good food storage system, proper irrigation, and adequate drainage, some of the adverse effects of the past flood could be drastically curtailed if and only if these measures are instituted with utmost urgency.

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