Nigerians Groan Helplessly As Food Prices Skyrocket

Nelson Uguwagbo, Abuja

The increasing cost of food prices is a source of great concern and anguish to Nigerians. Since 2016, almost all food items have increased by more than 150% of their original costs.

More than before, Nigerians struggle to buy food commodities as the country suffers from inflating food prices. These has made some experts warn about impeding food crisis.

Over half the population are in poverty. Millions of people especially in the northern parts of the country face hunger and food insecurities already.

The United Nations Food agency predicts that more than 19 million people will become food insecure in Nigeria this year.

The increase in cost of food items has made life miserable and difficult for Nigerians especially low income earners, the unemployed and other vulnerable people.

A simple market survey in any store confirms these facts. The price of a ‘derica’ of beans which sold for 250-300 now go for 550-600 naira.

A paint of garri in the East which was sold for N350 is now sold for as high as N800. A tuber of yam is sold for over 1000 naira. A bottle of red oil which once sold for 400 naira now goes for 800 naira while a bottle of groundnut oil which sold for 450 naira now sells for 1000 naira.

Even sachet milk and Milo which sold for 50 naira now sells at 80 and 70 naira respectively.

This relentless upward movement in food prices is biting hard for poor families in the rural areas in Nigeria. It is a source of concern and misery for many people.

LEADING REPORTERS in an exclusive interview with a trader Faith Omoerah popularly known as ‘Aunty Faith’ a local fast food restaurant owner in my area about her thoughts on the situation and how the increasing food prices is affecting her business.

Explaining, Faith said ‘Everyday, when i go to the market to buy food items, the price seems to increase. Beans and rice that I use to buy cheap before has now double in price. They said a bag of rice is now 26,000 naira.’

‘For me to make profits in my business I now have to increase the price of a plate of food. However my customers are complaining bitterly.

They don’t know that my profits from the business is very small as most of it goes into buying ingredients to make the food’.

Another neighbor of mine whom I spoke to about the situation is Mr Augustine Oparah.

Augustine Oparah, a plumber narrating her ordeal said that the high of cost of food has now made him only eat twice a day.

According to Augustine, ‘Food cost is very high now, I can only afford to eat twice a day now. Most times my morning food is 200 naira potatoes. It’s only in the night I then eat a good food.’

‘it’s only a rich man that can afford to eat three times a day in our country now ‘ he expressed.

The combinations of reasons has led to this increase in the cost of food items. They include: increased cost in transporting foods from the farms to the various markets nationwide, attack on farmers and destruction of farm produce by terrorist including the ongoing farmers-herders crisis.

Also, bizarre economic policies like blocking of land borders and banning of the importation of some food products and the devaluation of the naira against the dollar have contributed to the hike in food prices.

Monica Ayuba a trader stated that whenever they go to buy food items from wholesale sellers and they ask why the price has suddenly increased, the sellers tell them that it is because dollar price has increased thus affecting the cost of importation and custom clearance.

The consequences of this increased food costs is visible in every nook and cranny of the country. People now starve or beg for food. Malnutrition can be observed amongst children because their parents cannot afford the necessary diets to feed them.

Also crime rate is on the increase as individuals have resorted to stealing and other crimes to make ends meet.

A lot of people have pleaded with the government to declare a ‘food emergency’ and take all the actions necessary to mitigate and lower the cost of food items.

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