Household imports of food and beverages increased by 71.12% between the third quarter of 2018 and the corresponding quarter of 2022 despite the currency crisis in the country, according to the findings of the punch have shown.

This was based on data from the 2022 Third Quarter Foreign Trade Statistics Report from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Food and beverage imports were classified into primary and processed foods for households.

In the third quarter of 2018, primary imports of food and beverages stood at 84.84 billion naira, while those of processed foods were 77.41 billion naira, making a total of 162.25 billion naira. .

For the third quarter of 2022, primary imports of food and beverages were around 153.82 billion naira, while those of processed foods were around 123.82 billion naira, making a total of 277,640 million naira.

The development came amid the foreign exchange shortage facing the nation.

The International Monetary Fund recently said that the food crisis currently plaguing Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries has been exacerbated by excessive reliance on imported food.

In a new report titled “Africa Food Prices Soar Amid High Import Reliance,” the Washington-based lender said prices of staple foods in sub-Saharan Africa rose an average of 23, 9 percent in 2020-22, the most since the 2008 global survey. financial crisis.

The report noted that the increase was commensurate with an 8.5 percent increase in the cost of a typical grocery basket (beyond generalized price increases).

The report said global factors were partly to blame due to the region’s imports of major staple foods, noting that the pass-through from global to local food prices was significant.

He noted that in Nigeria, prices for both cassava and maize more than doubled, despite the fact that they were mainly produced locally.

The report said in part: “We estimate that a 1 percent increase in the consumption share of a staple food raises the local price by an average of 0.7 percent. The effect is even greater when a staple is mainly imported, raising the price by about 1.2 percent. When a country’s net import dependency increases by 1 percent, the local real cost of a highly imported staple is expected to rise by an additional 0.2 percent.

“The relative strength of a country’s currency is another factor influencing the costs of imported food. We find that a 1 percent depreciation in real effective exchange rates increases the price of highly imported commodities by an average of 0.3 percent.

Nigeria’s headline inflation has continued to rise this year, reaching a new high of 21.47% in November 2022 from 21.09% in October 2022, according to the Consumer Price Index report published by the National Office of Statistics this month.

PUNCH noted that this was the highest rate in some 17 years.

According to the NBS, the reason for the year-on-year increase was an increase in the import cost due to persistent currency depreciation and a general increase in the cost of production, including an increase in the cost of energy.

The registered month-on-month increase was attributed to the strong increase in demand that is usually experienced during the festive season.

The food inflation rate also increased to 24.13% year-on-year, 6.92% higher than the 17.21% recorded in November 2021.

The World Bank recently said that Nigeria could have one of the highest inflation rates in the world by 2022, and that rising prices would lower the welfare of Nigerian households.