A May 2022 Food and Agriculture Organization Alert indicated that food insecurity is at unprecedented levels in most coastal and Sahelian countries.
The alert revealed that the alarmingly high level of food insecurity is due to localized shortfalls in cereal production in 2021, worsening conflicts, high food prices, and macroeconomic challenges compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the number of food insecure people could increase above the initial projections as the effects of the war in Ukraine, mostly related to soaring international prices of food, fuel, and fertilizers, which were not factored in the latest food security analyses.
Food insecurity conditions can worsen further if constrained access to fertilizers, persisting local insecurity, and forecast localized unfavorable weather conditions result in lower cereal production in 2022.
Rice, being the staple food for most countries in the region, has seen monumental increments in price across various countries. In Liberia, the government immediately commenced engaging with all stakeholders, including rice importers on steps that can be taken to avert any shortage of rice on the market and with retailers to ensure that they sell the commodity and not hoard, which could result in an artificial shortage.
The Liberian government says it is working hard to ensure there is sufficient stock of rice in the country including a buffer stock level since this global supply chain challenge started. However, there have been instances of intermittent decline in this stock level as a result of logistical and technical challenges, which often results in panic buying by the public and hoarding by individuals in addition to an increased demand for the commodity outside of the normal due to fear resulting from global challenges.
The country’s government says it is continuously monitoring the impact of the global food crisis, especially in terms of global shortages in access to grains, and will continue to make decisions and policies in the best interest of the Liberian people reflective of global circumstances.