SPECIAL REPORT: Prices of protein, carbohydrate-rich foods in Nigeria up 58%

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Market surveys in seven states show that the prices of the cost of protein-rich foods rose by an average of 60.5 per cent while carbohydrate quickened 59 per cent.

The prices of protein and carbohydrate-rich foods in Nigeria rose at an average of 58 per cent in the last year, as the country continues to face insecurity, attacks on farmers, and economic problems aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, a PREMIUM TIMES survey has shown.

Market surveys in seven states show that the prices of all food items dramatically skyrocketed, and the cost of protein-rich foods rose by an average of 60.5 per cent while carbohydrate quickened by 59 per cent.

The rise means Nigerians are spending a lot more to buy food and millions of low income-families find it difficult to get critical nutrients like protein needed especially by children for proper growth and development.

Food inflation in Nigeria fell for the third consecutive month to 21.83 per cent in June after reaching its highest rate in more than a decade. The peak rate in March was 22. 95 per cent.

Nigeria is not self-sufficient in food production, and the country relies on imports to supplement deficits in almost all types of food, from fish to sugar to maize.

Government initiatives to boost production have yielded little returns. In June, PREMIUM TIMES reported how the country has failed to produce enough cassava, perhaps the most widely consumed food in Nigeria, despite investments over decades.

The government closed its land borders in 2018 and blocked access to foreign exchange for food importers as part of efforts to discourage importation and grow domestic production.

With local production not rising as expected, the measures only led to a significant rise in food prices. Rising insecurity compounded the problem.

PREMIUM TIMES has examined how prices of food have risen in the last one year, and how the increase has affected consumers and farmers alike.

In this part of the series, we examined the prices of only protein and carbohydrate-based foods. The research covered meat (beef, chicken and goat), fish (fresh, iced and dried), crayfish, egg, garri, yam, cassava, and yam flour, and semovita/semolina.

Our research showed that on average, the price of a kilogram of chicken rose from between N1300 to N1700 and N1800 to N2500, while a kilogram of beef rose from N1550 to N2000.

The price of a big bag of crayfish rose from N40,000 to N80,000 and one basket increased from N7000 to N15,000.

A kilogram of iced fish increased from N1200 to N1800, and 20 pieces of dried fish rose to N5000 against the previous price of N2500. A crate of egg sold for N1500 as against N850.

For carbohydrate-rich foods, the survey found that the price of a 1.5 kilogram of garri (popularly called a mudu) rose from N250 t0 N550 on average. In some states, garri sold in a 20-litre paint container went for N6500 against the previous price of N5000.

Five tubers of medium-sized yam rose from N2000 to N3500. One big tuber in some states rose from N1500 to N2000.

Also, the price of 10 kilograms of semovita rose from N3500 to N5600.

The price of a 50-kilogram bag of cassava flour rose to N2000 from the N1500.

Yam flour sold in a four-litre paint container sold for N1500 against its former price of N1200, and the price of 100-kilogram bag of the same flour rose from N70, 000 to N85, 000.

Chukwu Okoroafor, a trader at the Garki Model Market in Abuja, attributed the increase in the prices of garri to cost of production and insecurity in the country.

“Due to the cost of production, kidnapping in the farm, and the farmers/herders clashes, some farmers are no longer going to the farm. That’s why you see prices of things going high,” Mr Okorofor said.

“A bag of yellow garri that goes for the sum of N15,000 as of last year is now sold at the rate of N28,000.

“Last year I sold a mudu of yellow garri for N250 but as I am speaking with you now, it has doubled in price. A mudu is now N500.”

Mr Okorofor said a medium-sized bag of white garri that was N12,500 before now goes for N25,000 and a mudu now goes for N400 against its previous price of N150.

Auwalu Yusuf, a food seller in the same market, said prices went up as a result of supply problems.

“Companies hoarding the products just to increase it at their own time should please stop this,” he said.

A yam dealer at the market, Mallam Lawan, said the hike in food items has curtailed the purchasing power of consumers.

“If you come here some years back, I don’t think I will be able to listen to you because I will be busy attending to plenty of customers,” Mr Lawan told our reporter.

At Wuse market in Abuja, Alhaji Ibrahim, who has been in the business of selling dried fish for over 20 years, said prices doubled in the last two years to three years.

“A cartoon of fish sold at N18,000 now costs an average of N27,000 – N29,000,” Mr Ibrahim said.

“Due to road blockage, banditry and Boko haram and border closure that is why you see all things going high. Because of “this, I have lost almost N300,000 – N500, 000.”

At the Olojudo market, Ido Ekiti in Ekiti State, Idowu Ojo, who sells cassava and yam flour, attributed the increase in the cost of food items to insecurity.

Alahja Bolatito standing close to yam four

Bolanla Adetitun, a yam trader at the Olojudo market, also expressed worry over the rising cost of the commodity.

“100 pieces of yam which formerly sold for N40,000 now sells for N60,000,” she said.

Kingsley Okonkwo, a trader at the same market, said scarcity and high cost of raw materials like corn for producing semovita was also a factor for price rise.

“I must tell you, I have ordered some bags of semovita but what most of the companies do now is to ration the products because they don’t even produce enough again,” he said.

Ajayi Idowu, frozen food seller, said a carton of frozen turkey previously sold at N17,500 now costs N23,000 while a cartoon of frozen chicken is now sold at N20,000 from N17,000.

At Ose market in Onitsha, Anambra State, Chioma Njoku, a yam seller, said, “I remember in 2017, I sold a tuber of yam from an average of N200 to N250 but now things are very difficult.

“100 pieces of yam sold for N40,000 before is now N55,000 and a tuber of yam now goes as high as N550 to N700,” she said.

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Source: Premium Times

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