Ukraine crisis: Oxfam calls for universal social protection measures for Nigerians – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

As the war between Ukraine and Russia continues to affect the global economy, an international organization, Oxfam Nigeria, has called on the Nigerian government to urgently implement universal and adequate social protection measures to support the Nigerians.

According to Oxfam, this will guarantee the poorest and most vulnerable people social protection.

Oxfam Nigeria, in a statement signed by its communications officer Rita Abiodun, said the crisis in Ukraine had caused global food prices to skyrocket in recent weeks, with some analysts estimating a 20% increase. .

The statement said the situation is adding pressure to already devastating global food shortages that many fear could lead to hunger.

“Ukraine and Russia are important players in the global food export market. Russia is the leading wheat exporter with a share of nearly 16% of the world market, while Ukraine is the third largest wheat exporter with nearly 10% of the world market. It is important to note that for a number of countries experiencing high levels of hunger, Ukraine and Russia have an outsized impact, as they import a significant portion of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia.

“The most important issue, however, is affordable access to food, not its availability. Many people in low-income countries (including Nigeria) cannot afford the prices of products like bread, which in many countries is made from imported wheat. The reason. Supply chain disruptions and weather-related disasters, such as drought, coupled with conflict, drove up prices when wages were

unable to keep up.

“The UN estimated before the crisis that the price of food in sub-Saharan Africa was 30 to 40% higher than in the rest of the world (taking into account comparative levels of GDP per capita).

“One in five people (282 million) were undernourished and 93 million in 36 African countries suffered from extreme levels of hunger (women and children being the hardest hit).

“In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three children under the age of five suffer from stunted growth due to chronic undernutrition; and two out of five women of childbearing age are anemic due to poor diet.

“In West Africa, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance could reach 35.7 million during the lean season from June to August 2022,” the statement said.

On the short-term solution, Oxfam called on donor governments to close the gap between what people can afford and rising prices, saying there was a need to provide much-needed aid to people facing acute hunger who have been affected by rising food prices. .

Projecting for the future, the NGO said governments must support the development of sustainable, resilient and local food systems, based on small-scale production and family farming that would form the very foundation of food security. .

“The current crisis underscores the urgency and importance of this,” they said.

Oxfam International’s Country Director in Nigeria, Dr Vincent Ahonsi, said: “Nigeria needs a food system that works for everyone. This means a food system that can withstand shocks such as the climate crisis and rapid food inflation in international food markets, and that does not contribute to environmental destruction.

“The Nigerian government must provide the necessary public funding to create equitable, gender-equitable and sustainable food systems, with particular focus on agro-ecological production which is inherently less dependent on imported feed and food. agricultural inputs and more resilient to the impacts of climate change”.

Joel C. Hicks