Nigeria: Anxiety, fear, lamentation as food prices rise an a daily basis

  • Price of beans rises by 5.26% to N100,000 per bag in four days
  • Imported rice from N13,000 in few months to N30,000
  • Local rice from N7,000 per bag to N20,000
  • Sellers blame insecurity in the North

WorldStage Newsonline– There are anxieties, fears, lamentations in the food markets and at homes across Nigeria as the prices of food continue to rise on a daily basis.

The only thing that is constant around the markets is that the price of any foodstuff cannot remain the same in two or three days. This is what makes it more fearsome.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest report indicated that the rate of inflation in Nigeria stood at 17.01 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) in August 2021, a drop of 0.37 per cent in July.

The NBS report said that composite food index rose by 20.30 per cent in August compared to 21.03 per cent in July. It said the rise was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tuber, food product, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa.

In reality, the latest market survey carried out by WorldStage in Lagos showed that the prices of staples such as rice, beans, groundnut, soyabeans, maize, sorghum and millet were more volatile than what were captured by NBS.

The survey showed that the prices of essential cowpeas such as beans and soyabeans drastically increased, while prices of groundnuts were miles apart from what they were last year.

Alaba Rago market, Lagos

In a market survey at Alaba Rago, a food vendor Mr Chukwu Uche, lamented that “Just imagine, as of Saturday 18th September, 2021, the price of beans was N95, 000.00 but today being 21st September, 2021, the price of beans has increased again to N100, 000.”

Mr Chibuzo Ugonna, a food vendor in Bariga market, Lagos expressed concerns over the outrageous increment in food prices. He believed that the appreciating value of dollars and insecurity were the reasons for the increase of prices of food items.

He said imported rice which used to sell for N13,000 is now N30,000 while local rice that used to be sold for N7,000 is now N20,000.

Ugonna specifically blamed the inability of the government to curb insecurity which he believed was preventing farmers from carrying out their farming activities in areas that were occupied by insurgents.

According to him, the reason for the increase of food prices was because of the crisis ravaging the Northern part of the country.

Bariga Market, Lagos

“The Northern part of Nigeria is where we mostly get supplies and then we sell to Lagos residents. Even now we no longer sell with the hope of making much profit anymore,” he said.

“We just don’t want to disappoint our customers. The price of beans is the worst. They used to say that beans is for the poor people or families, but that is not the correct story now.

“The price of beans is unbearable. For people with four to 10 children, how will they even survive now?”

As for Abubakar Kabiru, a rice seller at Alaba Rago, the high cost of transportation should also be blamed for the high price of food items in Nigeria.

He said that farmers spent a lot of money on the transportation of food items to other parts of the country which would be reflected in the price of food items.

He said the food retailers should not be blamed for the soaring prices of food items, but the economy and security challenges in the country.

In fact, he said that it was even difficult to transport products such as yam, beans, onions, pepper and tomatoes to the other parts of the country due to the risks of kidnappings and various extortions on the road.

According to him, demand for few commodities such as beans and rice that eventually got to the markets was more than supply.

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