Nigerians Groan As Food Prices Skyrocket

As Nigeria pushes for self-reliance in local food production, prices of foodstuffs have increased to about 50 to 70 per cent across the country, a market survey by Information Nigeria has revealed.

Many Lagosians are complaining of the high cost of foodstuff in the market. Consumers who spoke to our correspondent said they are unable to meet up with the rising cost of food items, adding that their families no longer feed well as a result.

Some traders, however, say the inability of local farmers to produce enough for domestic consumption largely contributes to the high cost of food commodities in the country.

This comes after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stating that inflation rate had risen by 18.17 per cent in March 2021, up from the 17.33 per cent recorded in February 2021.

At a popular food market at Ojodu Berger in Lagos State, both traders and customers lament the soaring prices of food commodities. Checks by Information Nigeria reveals that a 100kg bag of rice is sold for N56,000, while a 100kg of beans sells for N23,000.

Similarly, a 100kg bag of old maize is sold at N26, 000 and that of newly harvested maize is sold at N19, 800.

A 50kg bag of millet is sold for N22, 000 and a 100kg of garri goes for N20, 500. An average tuber of yam goes for N900.

The cost of Milo refill (1kg) has soared from N1, 600 to N2, 200 while a 1kg of tin Milo which was sold at N1, 800 now sells at N3, 000. Tin Milo (500g) is now N2, 000 from N1,400.

The cost of Dano full cream milk (800kg) sells for N2, 500 while a 360g is sold at N1, 400.

Peak milk refill (350g) goes for N1, 500 while a 900g sells at N3, 000.

Mosunmola Olubajo, a middle-aged civil servant moves from one stall to the other, haggling prices of food items with traders. She shakes her head intermittently after hearing the prices of meat she initially came to the market to purchase.

“Do you know that is it now so difficult to feed three times daily?” Mrs Olubajo begins.

“The prices of food items are not friendly and salary is not moving up. Most of my colleagues have resorted to buying roasted fish to augment the small pieces of meat they can afford to buy. We don’t know how long this will continue as surviving is now becoming a difficult task.

“We can only plead with the government to swiftly solve whatever is causing this sharp increase. It is just too frustrating.”

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On his part, a trader who simply identified himself as Collins, 36, says food is now beyond the reach of average Nigerians. He bemoaned the economic hardship Nigerians are made to face in spite of being the giant of Africa.

In his words, ” People now eat what they see or sometimes, what they can afford.

“I have two wives and seven children, how does the government expect me to cater for my family with this high cost of living?”

Abdullahi Abubakar, a vulcanizer, expressed concern on the sharp increase in the price of food commodities. He said the increase has affected vegetable oil, condiments and onions. Abubakar attributes the increase to EndSARS protest  COVID-19 pandemic that rocked the nation in 2020.

“It is surprising that prices of condiments have gone through the roof.  Before EndSARS protest, I used to buy a half bag of rice, beans, and garri and store them in my house. This usually lasts for two months or more. But now, I can’t afford it, I only buy what we would eat.”

A civil servant, Mrs Cynthia Odumodu, says that the price of commodities and water have increased to “high heavens”.

According to her, a set of sachet water, which formally sells for 1000 is now sold at N1, 400, adding that the price of bottled water has increased from N50 to N80.

“This is not the best time to be a Nigerian. The prices of almost everything, aside from food items, have soared, but salary is stagnant. House rent and transportation have also shot to the roof. The situation is a pitiable one for us all.”