Nigerians Lament As Bag of Rice Sells for N50,000

Nigerians have lamented that the price of rice and other food items is increasing every day in the country.

Newsflash Nigeria learnt that a bag of rice (local or foreign) that sold for about N7,000 around 2016 has jumped to as high as N45,000- N50,000 per 50 kg for some brands.

Apart from rice, a sachet of tomato that used to sell for N50 now sells for as high as N150 or N200 while a loaf of bread has risen from N250 to N900, across major cities in the country within the last five to ten years.

A sector that has been badly affected by the lingering inflation is poultry, whose products such as eggs, and chicken/turkey meat are relied upon by millions for basic protein needs.

A kilogramme of chicken that previously sold for N800 now sells for N2000, while a crate of eggs that sold for N700 now sells within the range of N1800 -N2000 and above in the markets.

Newsflash Nigeria learnt that food prices in Nigeria are at their highest levels ever as the country faces its worst food inflation in 17 years.

Nigeria’s inflation rate surged to 20.52 per cent in August, the highest since September 2005. The figure rose from 19.64 per cent recorded in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Food inflation rose to 23.12 per cent in August 2022 on a year-on-year basis, representing a 2.82 per cent increase when compared to 20.30 per cent in August 2021.

“This rise in the food inflation was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, food products like potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, meat, oil and fat,” the report said.

Newsflash Nigeria learnt that major markets in the different regions of the country have shown that the prices of food items increased by over 100 per cent in the last five years.

The rise is evident in the price differences observed in all classes of food almost on a daily basis, leaving Nigeria’s large population of poor citizens to spend more to get food and key ingredients amidst stagnated income.

The survey shows how several factors have contributed to the surge in food prices, and how the government’s efforts to upscale domestic food production to force down prices have yielded little or no impact in solving the problem.

In interviews, food traders, farmers, and processors said the rise in the prices of key food items and ingredients is largely triggered by the instability of the exchange rate of the naira, insecurity and high cost of transportation of products within and across states in the country.

One of the traders, Mrs Emmanuel Anike, who has been in the business of selling food items, like rice, and beans among others in Bisi Egbeyemi market, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, for over 20 years, said prices of food items have doubled in the last five years.

“The way the prices of food items have doubled over the past years is very discouraging,” Mrs Anike said.

She explained that a bag (100kg) of beans that was selling for N12,000 in Ekiti in 2018 is now sold at the rate of N58,000 and above.

Likewise, she noted that a 50kg bag of foreign rice sold between the range of N15,000 and N18,000 in 2018 is now as high as N45, 000 – N48, 000 per bag.

Like rice and beans, a 50 kg of wheat flour used in bread making and other confectionery sold for N11,000 in 2018 now goes for N31,000 to N35,000 this year, the trader said.

“In 2018, I sold 1kg of wheat flour for N250 but 1kg is now N1000,” she added.

Mrs Anike lamented that due to the spike in the prices of foodstuffs, some of her consumers can no longer afford the normal quantity of food items they used to buy anymore.

“Over the years the prices of food items are becoming so discouraging in a country where the minimum wage can no longer buy a bag of rice,” she said.

Mrs Ibironke Ogunsola, a frozen food seller, said a carton of frozen turkey previously sold at N6,500 – N7,000 in 2018 now costs N31,000 – N32,000 while a cartoon of frozen chicken is now sold at N28,000 from N6,000.

“A carton of Titus fish sold at N12,000 now costs an average of N45,000 for the small carton and N57,000 for the big cartoon.

Mrs Ogunsola noted that a carton of sardine fish sold at N7,000 is now sold at the rate of N28,000 while a carton of croaker fish is now sold at N48,000 from N10,000 sold in 2018.

“This is not funny again, we are in the era of change and they are changing everything for us. Let me also surprise you that a carton of Panla fish sold at the rate of N5,000 is now N25,000 while Kote (mackerel) is now N28,000 from the N8,000 it was previously sold in 2018,” she said.

Yetunde Adeyemi, a foodstuff seller in the same market, said prices went up as a result of border closure and the exchange rate of the dollar to Naira.

“If you would remember, you will notice that things started going up when they closed the border some years back. Since then till now, food items keep going higher and higher. And another problem we are faced with is also the rise in the dollar rate to Naira.

“A 50kg bag of yellow garri sold for N5,000 to N6,000 in 2018 is now N17,000 for a bag while a 50 kg bag of white garri then was N3,500 – N4,000 but now is N14,000 – N15,000,” Mrs Adeyemi said.

“I could remember vividly that I sold a rubber (10 milk cups) of white garri for N150 but now a mudu is N400.”20 medium-sized pieces of dried fish rose to N15,000 from N6,000 it was sold before.

She said “for crayfish, the price of a big bag is now N110, 000 as against the N30,000 it was sold before.

Amusa Muhammed, a meat seller, said an average-sized cow sold for N60,000 in 2018 now costs as high as N200,000. While the biggest size sold at the rate of N150,000 then now costs N500,000 to N600,000.

Just like other states, the residents of Ogun also attributed the increase in the price of foodstuff to the impact of insecurity on farmers/traders in the country.

At Kuto market in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Precious Aduke, who sells groceries in the market expressed concerns over the price volatility of food items and how it is affecting sales.

She said, “A carton of small pack noodles that we sold for N1,500 around 2018 is now sold for N4,000 while the “super pack” size sold at N2,500 as at that time is now N6,000.”

A 10kg bag of golden penny wheat sold for N2,100 is now N5,200.

“The loaves of bread that I used to buy from a bakery at N400, are now double the price because of the high cost of the flour, milk and sugar,” she said.

She said patronage these days is very low, and that most of her customers are complaining that their salary has not increased yet the costs of food items are increasing steadily.

Another trader at the market, who identified herself as Mama T said “I don’t understand where this country is heading with the rate at which things are becoming expensive now.

“A carton of golden penny spaghetti that we are selling for N8, 000 now, was sold in 2018 at the rate of N4,700. While a 10kg bag of mama gold semolina sold at N2,500 then is now N5,900.”

Mrs Mama T said this is applicable to most of the other food commodities in the State.

“100 grams of tomato paste before was N30 for one, but now it’s N100. It’s difficult for us sellers also, but there is nothing we can do,” she said.

Similarly, Adegoke Funmise, a trader who sells beans at the market said prices of beans have climbed significantly due to attacks on farmers up north.

 “You know beans are highly cultivated in the northern part of the country but because of endless attacks on farmers some beans farmers no longer go to the farms again and this has caused a reduction in the cultivation of beans,” she said.

The trader said “Most of the traders who go to the farm gate to get the product at a cheaper rate can’t do that again because they are scared. And farmers are also moving away from the farm because of the insecurity and kidnapping issues in the country.”

Mrs Funmise explained that the high cost of transportation also contributed to the soaring prices of foodstuffs in the market.

“If you do use diesel, you will realise that the price of diesel is very high now and most of the trucks that transport farms produce use diesel and I must tell you that this is another factor for the high cost of food,” she noted.

She said, “This is the situation we find ourselves in now. Nothing is encouraging in this country, just that we are thanking God that there is no war.”

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Ilesanmi Adekanbi

Ilesanmi Adekanbi, writers and loves writing the story of politics, He is a movie addict. Adekanbi is a Senior Content Creator at Newsflash Nigeria contact me on email: [email protected]

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