By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
For millions of suffering Nigerians, times are hard, and living has become hellish due to rising costs, occasioned by spiraling food prices and recent increases in prices of utilities such as electricity and fuel.
Nigerians across board are complaining of the high cost of food commodities relative to poor purchasing power, Business Hallmark ‘s investigation has revealed.
Many Nigerians spoken to by this newspaper complained of rising prices and expressed fears of looming food crises. James Deola, a mechanic said as a bread winner in his family, he can no longer guarantee them two meals again. “My family know that I have tried my best, but how much do I make a day, may be N2000 if i see a customer, but many days there are no customers. Sachet of tomato paste which used to go for N60 is now N150, while a piece of big onion is now N200.”
Many breadwinners like Fella spoken to said they can no longer afford to feed their families three times a day as the prices of basic food items doubled in the past few months and their source of income dwindled.
Many spoken to said they lost their means of livelihoods to COVID-19, and instead of social safety nets from government, ” the same government decided to punish us by increasing electricity and fuel prices”, Prekeme Amadi, a printer said in a chat with this newspaper.
Some traders spoken to by BH said the high cost of food items was caused by the inability of farmers to produce enough for domestic consumption while international borders remained closed.
” The closure of borders has been counterproductive, you don’t just wake up and close borders without necessary measures in place to cushion it’s effects on the vulnerable. The policy was not well thought out. It has caused millions of Nigerians hardship, In addition to the geopolitical implications at the sub-regional levels. Look at what is happening to Nigerian traders in Ghana? We can not produce enough food, come to think of it, the home grown rice is costlier than imported one”, Dr. Olufemi Omoyele, a Public Affairs analyst who teaches management at Redeemers University told Business Hallmark in a telephone interview.
Other people interacted with blamed the development on the increase in the price of petrol and electricity tariff.
The complaint came at the time President Muhammadu Buhari convoked the meeting of the National Food Security Council (NFSC) where some of the stakeholders also raised the alarm of an impending food shortage in the country and the consequences.
However, some of the attendees expressed optimism of overcoming the impending danger as farmers begun to harvest their produce.
It seems the feferal government does not realise the looming food crises as
Buhari at the meeting also warned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to give a penny to anybody who intends to import food items or fertilizer, insisting that Nigeria has the capacity to feed itself.
As it is now, it is tough time for the poor
A survey carried out on commodity price by this newspaper in Lagos at different markets from Mile 12 , Mushin, Oshodi and Ile Epo showed that a 100kg bag of rice is sold at N54, 000 or more, while a 100kg bag of beans is sold at N21, 000.
Similarly, a 100kg bag of old maize is sold at N22, 000 and that of newly harvested maize is sold at N18, 500.
A 100kg bag of millet goes for N20, 000 and a 100kg of garri is sold at N18, 500. An average tuber of yam goes for N650.
Below is the prices of foodstuffs as witnessed by this newspaper when it undertook a survey of Lagos markets.
80kg Bag of Garri (Ijebu) N10,500
50kg Bag of Garri (White) N6,500 to N7,500
50kg Bag of Garri (Yellow) N6,500 to N7,500
5 Liters of Palm Oil N2,200 to N2,500
20 Liters of Palm Oil N8,800 to N9,000
30 Liters of Palm Oil N12,800 to N13,000
Dangote Spaghetti (500g) N200 to N250
Golden Penny Spaghetti (500g) N200 to N250
Bonita Spaghetti (500g) N250 to N300
Power Spaghetti (500g) N200 to N250
Big Basket of Sweet Potato N500 to N650
Small Basket of Sweet potato N300 to N400
Big Basket of Irish Potato N1,900 to N2,200
Medium Basket of Irish Potato N1,000 to N1,300
Small Basket of Irish Potato N500 – N700
5 Liters of Groundnut Oil N2,300 to N2,500
20 Liters of Groundnut Oil N9,000 to N9,500
30 Liters of Groundnut Oil N13,500 to N14,000
5 Liters of Wesson Vegetable Oil N4,500 to N4,700
5 Liters of Kings Vegetable Oil N2,900 to N3,000
3.8 Liters of Mamador Vegetable Oil N3,000 to N3,200
3 Liters of Power Vegetable Oil N2,400 to N2,600
Dangote Sugar (50kg) N17,000 to N17, 300
St. Louis Suar Cube (500g) N300 to N400
Golden Penny Sugar Cube (500g) N300 to N4000
A loaf of Bread (small size) N70 to N150
A loaf of Bread (medium size) N300 to N500
Crat of Eggs N1100 to N1300
50kg Bag of Local Rice N14,000 to N25,000
50kg Bag of Polished Rice N22,000 to N28,000
5kg Bag of Ofada Rice N2,800 to N3,500
50kg Bag of Ofada Rice N25,000 to N28,000
A Cup of Local Rice N800
A Cup of Polished Rice N100 to N130
50kg Bag of Mama Gold Rice N26,000 to N32,000
Royal Stallion Rice (50kg) N25,500 to N31,500
50kg Bag of Rice Master Rice N26,000 to N31,000
25kg Bag of Rice Master Rice N13,000 to N16,500
50kg Bag of Cap Rice N25,500 to N32,000
25kg Bag of Cap Rice N13,000 to N17,000
25kg Bag of Falcon Rice N8,000 to N10,000
5kg Bag of Basmati Rice N4,000 to N4,800
Prices of Beans in Nigeria
50kg Bag of Oloyin Beans N30,000 to N39,000
25kg Bag of Oloyin Beans N15,000 to N19,000
A cup of Oloyin Beans N100
50kg Bag of Olotun Beans N29,000 to N36,000
25kg Bag of Olotun Beans N14,000 to N17,500
A cup of Olotun Beans N100
50kg Bag of Lima Beans N33,000
25kg Bag of Lima Beans N16,500
A cup of Lima Beans N110
50kg Bag of White Beans N32,000
50kg Bag of Brown Beans N32,000
A cup of Brown Beans N90
A cup of White Beans N80
Superpack Indomie Noodles (120g x 40ps) cartoon N3,300 to N3,400
Hungry Man size Indomie Noodles (200g x 24ps) cartoon N4,300 to N4,500
Chicken Indomie Noodles (70g x 40ps) cartoon N1,900 to N2,100
Onion Indomie Noodles (70g x 40ps) cartoon N2,100 to N2,200
Belleful Indomie Noodles (305g x 16ps) cartoon N4,300 to N4,500
Chiki Instant Noodles cartoon (100g x 40) N3,000 to N3,200
Golden Penny Instant Noodles cartoon (70g x 40ps) N2,100 to N2300
At Mile 12 market, Adetoye Kolade, a father of six, said feeding three times a day is gradually becoming very difficult for most families as prices of every food commodity have been increased.
“Many people have resorted to buying what is known as broken rice, which is the last grade of milled rice and even at that, a measure sold at N550 before is now N950 and a measure of maize is now N600. To be honest, survival is becoming so difficult these days,” he said.
Mohammed Abdul, a petty trader said , ” Things have changed, and life is hard now, this government is heartless . Now Nigerians now only look for what is affordable and available; prices of food commodities are so high and beyond the reach of the common man. I have two wives and five children and I earn a little above N40, 000. How do I survive in a situation where a 50kg of rice is sold at N26, 000?” he asked.
Martin Nwachukwu, a commercial driver plying Agege – Agbado route, who is a father of five said he used to buy a bag of guinea corn that lasts for a month but could no longer afford it.
” Things are difficult in the country now. What i do now is to struggle hard to
buy half of a bag these days and therefore my wife has to cut the ration we use daily.”
He said he has five mouths to feed in addition to four children of his late brother staying with him.
In the face of this hardship, President Muhammadu Buhari insists there is enough food to feed the Nation.
Recently, he directed the Central Bank of Nigeria “not to issue a kobo” of the country’s reserves for the importation of food items and fertilizer as the federal government rolls out the Economic Sustainability Plan and sets goals for National Food Security.
The government not wanting to be blamed has shifted the food shortage and rising prices challenge to others.
The Nigerian government
blamed the recent #EndSARS protests for the high cost of food currently being experienced by Nigerians.
The government said the street protests against police brutality in many parts of the country “stalled food transportation and delivery.”
This government’s angle was made known last Wednesday at its weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
It was conveyed through a press statement signed by Laolu Akande, the spokesperson to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The government said other factors responsible for the food prices increase include delay in going out to the farm, which translates to delay in harvesting courtesy of COVID-19 pandemic and banditry in the northwest effectively preventing farmers from harvesting fields cultivated.