West Africa's Food Crisis: Niger's Coup Sparks Disruption in the Onion Supply Chain, Driving Up Prices and Threatening Food Security

West Africas Food Crisis: Nigers Coup Sparks Disruption in the Onion Supply Chain, Driving Up Prices and Threatening Food Security

The food supply chain across West Africa has been disrupted, leading to a crisis in the region. The source of the disruption is Niger, which experienced a military coup on July 26. In response, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions, including the closure of borders surrounding Niger.

Niger is a key exporter of dry onions in the region, responsible for nearly two-thirds of total exports in 2021. The closure of borders has resulted in a shortage of onions and other food commodities, driving up prices in places where supply is still available. Ghana, which heavily relies on imports from Niger, has been particularly affected.

The cost of onions has nearly doubled in the country, causing financial strain for many Ghanaians. Onions are a staple in the cuisine of West Africa and have several health benefits, including improved blood sugar regulation and increased bone density.

Nigeria and Burkina Faso also play significant roles in the onion trade, accounting for a portion of the onions consumed in Ghana. However, the majority of onions, valued at about $2 million weekly, are imported from Niger. The situation has raised concerns about food security in the region.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that acute food insecurity is on track to reach a 10-year high in West and Central Africa this year. The spread of armed groups in the Sahel region is further hindering the food supply chain.

The economic sanctions imposed by ECOWAS have had a significant impact on Niger's economy. The border closure has led to a halt in trade and transportation, with onion trucks stuck behind borders in Burkina Faso. There are calls for regional leaders to reconsider their stance and find mechanisms that allow countries to address complaints and challenges.

In light of the crisis, there have been discussions about the need for Ghana to invest in growing its own onions to reduce reliance on imports. However, challenges such as the small size of domestically grown onions and the superior quality of Nigerian onions need to be addressed in order to find a sustainable solution.

Next Story
Share it
To Top