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The escalating rate of food prices in Nigeria

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By Nicole

How are Nigerians fairing with the increasing prices of food in the nation.

The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2022), which was published in May, did not receive much attention from Nigerians despite the fact that it listed Nigeria as one of the ten nations with the biggest number of people experiencing a food crisis. 12.94 million Nigerians experienced severe food insecurity between October and December 2021, according to the survey, which included 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory. By the fourth quarter of 2022, that number had surely increased due to the effects of the Russian/Ukrainian war and widespread flooding.

In a similar vein, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning at the beginning of this year, warning that rising food prices had worsened the situation in developing and emerging economies, including Nigeria. The international organization blamed the worrying trend on food import dependence on Ukraine and Russia, which had led to food insecurity globally. Nigeria’s imports of milk, wheat, and maize from Ukraine have decreased, while its imports of Russian wheat, mackerel, herrings, blue whitings, and other fish products have also decreased.

Inflation rates in the nation have increased from 15.63% to 19.64%.

Nigeria’s dependence on these warring nations has been shown by the disruption brought on by the Russia/Ukraine conflict, which quickly had an impact on the cost of life and the pricing of basic supplies. Indeed, the cost of living in Nigeria has significantly increased during the last two years as a result of rising inflationary pressure. Nigeria’s inflation rate has grown by more than 400 basis points year-to-date, from 15.63% in December 2021 to 19.64% in July.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the inflation rate increased to a new 17-year high of 21.09 percent in October, representing a 0.32 percentage point increase over the 20.77 percent reported in September (NBS). In October, the bureau’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased from 23.34 percent in September to 23.72 percent, while the core inflation rate increased from 17.6 percent to 17.76 percent. According to a study conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in marketplaces in Lagos, the cost of basic food products has increased by about 50% since January.

Due to the increase in price, many have been living difficult lives.

For instance, a 40-kg basket of tomatoes that cost N13,000 in January now costs N26,000, and a 50-kg bag of Scotch Bonnet pepper costs N21,000, up 50% from the N14,000 it cost in January. Similarly, a 100 kg basket of onions now sells for N60,000 from N33,000 in January, a 50 kg basket of bell pepper (Tatashe) increased from N15,000 to N32,000, and 25 litres of Kings oil increased from N22,000 to between N41,000 and 45,000. The price of a 50 kg bag of local and imported rice has increased from N30,000 and N33,000 in January to N40,000 and N46,000, respectively.

Similar to how a custard bucket of garri, which cost N350 in January, is now sold for N1,000, a loaf of 500g, which cost N450 in January, has increased to between N900 and N1,000 in December. While food costs are rising, many Nigerians’ purchasing power has decreased, making it difficult for them to maintain their usual quality of living. One former employee of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Mr. Mark Okono, who sells grains at the Ikotun market, voiced his displeasure with the volatility of food prices. The situation is so alarming, according to Mrs. Philomena Opara, a resident of Agodo-Egbe, Alimosho, Lagos State, that she had to cut back on the frequency of her children’s meals because of the high expense of food.

Nigerians should adjust their eating regime to twice daily and eat less.

In light of the rising tendency in inflation, Prof. Lai Olurode, a former dean of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Lagos, also recommended family heads to supplement their food purchases with backyard farming. He counseled family heads to supplement their food purchases with backyard cultivation and search nearby towns for markets where they might get food goods at lower prices. He added that households should think about purchasing food during the harvest season and preserving it, as well as sending money to dependable family members in the village to purchase food and transport it to them via commercial vehicles. He advised Nigerians to switch to a twice-daily dining schedule and consume less food.

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