Could the global food crisis impact America? (FCN, 04-30-2008)

ABUJA, Nigeria (PANA) – Nigeria has announced plans to import 500,000 metric tons of rice and release an additional 11,000 metric tons of grains from its strategic reserve to cushion the effect of the global food crisis.

Already, the government has allocated about $678 billion for the massive rice importation.


The decisions were reached at an April 29 meeting between President Umaru Yar’Adua and the governors of the country’s 36 states, held in the capital city of Abuja.

Nigeria had earlier released 40 million metric tons of grains from the reserve.

The rice to be imported will be sold to Nigerians at subsidized prizes, perhaps about half of the current all-time high price of between $85 and $102 per bag.

According to the World Bank, the price of foodstuffs has gone up 83 percent in three years due to, among other things, the effect of climate change on agricultural production and a reduced production area triggered by the increased use of land to grow crops for fuel, instead of food.

In March, the opposition Action Congress called on the federal government “to move quickly to mitigate the effects (of the rising prices) on the millions of the country’s poor citizens by paying more attention to food production.”

“We don’t want our people to engage in riots before the government will know that an increasing number of them are going to bed hungry at night,” the Action Congress said.

On April 29, the Food and Agriculture Organization called on the international community to act fast to defuse the food emergency.

“We must produce more food where it is urgently needed to contain the impact of the soaring prices on poor consumers,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said in a statement.