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Nigeria Suffers Energy and Wheat Shortfalls

Abuja, Nigeria: Nigerian manufacturers struggle with rising grain prices, especially for wheat, sparked in part by Russia's war on Ukraine.

Nigerian consumers and producers have struggled with soaring prices in the past year, including foodstuffs normally shipped from the Black Sea area now engulfed in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

— Six out of ten Nigerians struggled to afford and get food - before the February Russian invasion of Ukraine.

That conflict closed ports that normally load grain and other foodstuffs for shipment to Africa and many other destinations. And that shortage has sent prices soaring.

The Nigerian "Consumer Price Index" measuring the nation's inflation rate leaped to 16.82% in April after posting a January hike of 15.92%

Mmachukwu Orizu has a baby formula business. She uses wheat as a key ingredient to prepare her recipes, but due to the Russian war in Ukraine, Orizu is not sure when she will get her next supply.

I won't lie to you, to even get it is difficult. It's not just about the increase in price. To get the wheat is difficult now because I buy in bulk. I've made a lot of calls to some of my suppliers."

Orizu, founder of "Somma's Yummies," says the wheat shortage forces her to rethink how she makes her products.

I'm already trying to research on how to switch wheat for something else. We have atcha (grain). I'm taking between now and Friday to make that decision."

Nigeria imported an average of $2 billion worth of wheat in 2020 and 2021, mostly from the United States and Russia, according to Nigeria’s statistics bureau and the International Trade Administration.

The Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria says local production of wheat meets less than 10 percent of the country's needs.

The higher food prices and growing shortages in Nigeria aren't the only impacts of the Russian-Urkainian conflict: leaping fuel prices have pushed up transportation and manufacturing costs - the latter from multiple causes.

The Nigerian Manufacturers Association (MAN) says that Nigeria has been struggling with electricity and fuel shortages, inflation, poor infrastructure and growing insecurity even before the Russian invasion to Ukraine starts.

MAN Director-General Segun Ajay-Kariri said "Insecurity has made the supply chain internally very difficult. The most impacted parts of the country also happen to be the belt that we get most of our foods from. Now it is compounded by the fact that people cannot even farm."

As for the power problem, Nigerian authorities blame the electricity shortfall on the failure of the nation's power grid multiple times since January.

Many businesses in Nigeria are cut off from power like Osman Mohamed bakery’s business who switched to diesel fuel as a source of power. Mohamed says that even the diesel fuel has tripled in price since the beginning of the year.

We use a lot of diesel because the electricity is very scarce. Power generators have tripled in price since the beginning of the year.”