Nigeria’s food inflation rose to the highest level since 2008 in January, a sombre illustration of the crisis the nation’s food sector has faced, with millions of poor citizens struggling daily to buy food at exorbitant rates.

Food inflation climbed to 20.57 percent year-on-year in January 2021, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Statistics, making it the highest in over 11 years. Before now, the highest level was in July 2008.

Nigeria has seen one of its longest inflationary streaks, with headline inflation reaching a 33-month high in January.

Analysts blame the rise on COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, dollar shortages, and lingering restrictions on imports of certain food items despite the reopening of the borders. Another factor is the incessant attacks on farmers, which has caused shortages of goods.

According to the NBS, prices of food items rose the most in Kogi, Oyo, and River States in January when compared to January 2020. The three states recorded 26.64, 23.69, and 23.49 per cent respectively.

Ondo, Abuja, and Bauchi recorded the slowest rise in food prices.

When compared to December 2019 (month-on-month), food inflation was highest in Oyo at 4.47 percent, Lagos at 3.86 per cent and River at 3.11 per cent.

Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Edo recorded price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate).