Nigeria’s Sanusi Says Food Inflation Rose From Flooded Farms

Nigeria’s food inflation accelerated last month after flooding this year washed away farms, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi said.

Sanusi, who was speaking at FBN Capital’s annual investor conference in Lagos, the commercial capital, didn’t mention October’s food-inflation rate or how it affected the headline figure. Annual inflation slowed to 11.3 percent in September from 11.7 percent the previous month. Food prices, which account for more than half of the consumer price index, rose 10.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with 9.9 percent in August.

“We already have an uptick for food inflation for last month; food prices have already come up,” Sanusi said yesterday. “For many of those farmers, the floods have simply swept away their income for one year, and that’s going to have an impact on our agricultural productivity.”

Nigeria’s two biggest rivers, the Niger and the Benue, overflowed their banks as dams let out water after heavy rains, killing 363 people, displacing 2.2 million and affecting nearly 8 million from July to Oct. 31, according to the National Emergency Management Agency. Farms, homes and roads have been washed away in the flooding in Africa’s most-populous nation.

Data Release

The West African country’s National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release October inflation figures Nov. 19. Agriculture is the biggest contributor to the country’s economic output, accounting for 41 percent of gross domestic product in the second quarter, according to the Abuja-based statistics office.

The inflation rate of Africa’s largest-oil producer fell in September for the third consecutive month, though still above the central bank’s target of below 10 percent.

The Abuja-based central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record high 12 percent this year to help support the naira and keep prices low. Inflation has stayed below the bank’s forecast of a peak of as much as 15 percent after President Goodluck Jonathan cut a gasoline subsidy in January.

The central bank wants women to hold at least 40 percent of senior management positions in commercial banks and 30 percent of bank board seats by 2014, Sanusi also said yesterday.

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