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Tough times ahead as food prices soar

ordinary Nigerians have lamented the rising cost of food items

Tough times have caught up with most Nigerians as they lament the rising cost of foodstuff and other commodities due to inflation. From insecurity to job losses and salary cuts, many say their purchasing power is on the decline while the prices of food items continue to soar. Here is the situation in some states:


In Benue State, ordinary Nigerians have lamented the rising cost of food items, with most of them saying they could no longer cope.

Rose Oche said, “The truth is that I don’t know how I’m coping. It even amazes me sometimes that I have come this far. The price of every food item in recent times has gone beyond the reach of ordinary people. The only thing that hasn’t increased is salary.”

“Some food items haven’t just doubled in price, but tripled. You can imagine that half basin of garri which sold for N3, 000 last year now goes for about N15, 000, while a custard bucket of tomatoes which sold for N500 last year now sells for N2, 500.”

A tomato trader at the high-level market, Chide Attah, lamented that the increasing cost of food items on daily basis was frightening.

Attah said she was never sure of buying her daily tomato and pepper supply from the wholesalers at the same prices of the previous day because the prices were increasing daily.


Insecurity, job losses in Kaduna

Prices of grains across Kaduna markets have continued to rise despite the low purchasing power of most Nigerians.

Farmers have attributed the increase in the high cost of farming materials, including seedlings, fertiliser and chemicals. Others, however, attribute it to the security problems in the state; with many farmers being unable to access their farms for fear of being killed or kidnapped.

Our correspondent who visited the Bakin Dogo market in Kaduna reports that as at Wednesday, June 24, 2021, a bag of sorghum, maize and guinea corn cost N25,000 each, while soya bean cost N35,000 and bean cost N56,000. Local rice and foreign rice were sold at N26, 000 and N30, 000 respectively.

Mustapha Ibrahim, a grain seller at the market, said six months ago a bag of bean sold for N30,000, while soya bean sold for N25,000 and sorghum and guinea corn sold for N21,000 each.

According to him, the purchasing power of most residents had declined due to job losses and salary cuts.

Ibrahim Birnin Yero, a maize farmer who can no longer access his farm due to insecurity, called on government to find a lasting solution to the security challenges to avoid the already looming food scarcity in the country.

A scene of food stuff vendors in Damaturu Main Motor Park Photo Ibrahim Baba Saleh


Lamentations in Plateau

Auwalu Yatata, a trader in Anguwan Rogo in Jos, who confirmed the high increase in the prices of food items, expressed worry over the situation, saying prices had become unpredictable.

Yatata said, “A bag of sugar that we used to buy at N12, 000 is now N19, 500. The price of flour has also risen to N16, 000 from N10, 000. This is the same challenge with other commodities.”


Prayers in Kogi

Residents of Kogi State say they have resorted to prayers for better days ahead.

According to many residents, the prices of commodities have become unpredictable, and a survey carried out by our correspondent showed that the prices in Lokoja, the state capital, have risen by at least 30 per cent.

Madam Habibat Usman said a measure of bean that sold for N800 about two weeks ago was now N1,000.

She explained that, “The same measure of local rice that was considered a substitute to the untouchable foreign rice in the market goes for the same amount with the foreign rice.”

She said her family had resorted to selling their car to sustain the family after they sold their deep freezer and generator set a few months ago.

Another resident, Mrs Grace Adanebi, said her family was living from hand to mouth in the face of the meagre salary of her husband, and that they had resolved to turn to farming to augment their precarious situation if they could get land.


High prices, dwindling revenues in Kwara

In Kwara State, residents are groaning under the biting economic situation and the rise in the cost of food items. Some of them who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday lamented the continuous rise in the prices of commodities despite dwindling revenues.

According to Baliqees Akande, a trader, a bag of 5kg Semovita which was N1,600 is now N2,200, while yam that sold for N1,000 has tripled to N3,000, and a small bowl of bean that sold for N400 has doubled to N800.

She said, “All these increments are within a year. All I can say is that it’s becoming really frustrating to survive in Nigeria.”

Also, Medinat Abdulrahman said, “We have no choice but to go between one and two meals a day. We are managing and hoping that things will get better soon.”


Insecurity in Niger

The prices of food items in Niger State are biting harder as the increases have left residents in shock despite the expanse of arable land the state is blessed with.

Our correspondent gathered from traders that there is a direct link between insecurity and food security in the state.

According to Umar Abdullahi, a trader in Minna, this is because most farmers cannot go to their farms as they have been displaced by bandits.

Miss Mercy Deola, a teacher and resident of Minna, lamented that there was no commensurate increment in salary to meet up with rising prices of food items.


Housewives lament in Kano, Katsina

As the prices of foodstuff escalate, it is becoming harder for housewives to meet up with their daily meals as there is no commensurate increase in upkeep money from their husbands.

Hajiya Hauwa Sani who is married to a civil servant said, “As there is no increase in my husband’s salary, there is also no increase in the upkeep money he gives me; which makes it hard for me to make balanced meals.”

Another woman, Hajiya Amina, from Rijiyar Zaki area of Kano, complained about fruits also becoming too costly, adding that there was no longer a slice of N50 watermelon or pineapple because a full watermelon was sold at N1,300 to N1,500, while pineapple was sold at N1200 to N1,500, and a bunch of banana was sold at N1,200 to N1,300.

In Kano, a standard measure known as “mudu” of bean was sold at N900 to N1,200 last month, and now sells between N1,300 and N1,800, while maize that was sold N530 is now sold for N700 and N800.

Also, a measure of millet that was sold N500 is now sold at N700. A basket of tomatoes that was sold between N3,000 and N5,000 is now sold from N14,000 to N16,000. A bag of pepper that was sold N10,000 is now sold between N22,00 and N23,000.


Same story in Katsina

Residents are decrying the high cost of food items, especially at a time when the purchasing power of families has not improved.

Malama Na’imatu Abdullahi said life had not been easy lately as prices of food items were increasing by the day.

She said, “What we used to buy at the rate of N20 in the past has risen to N50, and the worry is that the price is still on the rise.”

A man who depends on motorcycle riding to cater for his family, Muhammad Abubakar, said his family’s major meal was maize, and that a measure of it sold at N700 as against N500.

On the part of the sellers, Yakubu Muhammad Mai Masara at the Katsina Central Market said a lot of factors were responsible for the price hike, noting that some were perennial while others were due to the security situation in the state.

He said, “Mostly at this time of the year when farming activities have begun and there are no new arrivals from the farm, the prices rise. But another problem is that some of the popular markets such as Dandume, Batsari and Kankara, where we used to buy the commodities, are bedevilled by the problem of insecurity.

“For instance, there was a time, just about one month ago, when some traders from this market were abducted by gunmen and we had to raise around N30m to secure their release.”


‘We can no longer afford 3-square meals’

In Ogun State, our correspondent reports that foodstuff prices have increased by about 50 per cent in the last six months.

A mudu of beans which was sold for N500 in the past, now goes for N900 and N1,000. A bag of rice which was sold for N19,500 now costs N23,500; vegetable oil has moved from N18,000 per keg (25 litres) to N24,000.

According to Daily Trust Saturday findings, palm oil which was sold for N10,000 now costs N17,500.

Also, garri which was sold for N300 as of January now goes for N700 per mudu.

Speaking with our correspondent, Mrs Bisola Adeyemi expressed concern that ordinary Nigerians bore the brunt of the increasing food prices.

She said, “If garri that used to be the hope of the common man is now unaffordable, then I think we have a big problem in this country.

“Before now a lot of people didn’t consider three-square meals as an option, but with the current market prices of foodstuff, I think we are moving to a 0-1-0 or 1-0-1 meal plans.


‘It’s not easy feeding’

Many residents of Ekiti State are not finding it easy to feed their dependents.

Mr Babalola Olusola said he was finding it difficult to meet his fatherly responsibility because the prices of food items kept skyrocketing in the market.

He said, “We now buy bean for either N1,000 or N1,100 in the market. Garri now goes for either N500 or N600. How can an average man meet the needs of his family?”

His view was supported by Mrs Busayo Sulaiman who said the majority of families were dying of hunger because they could not give an adequate and balanced diet to their children due to the high cost of foodstuff.

According to her, “Things are tough, families are crying silently, if you go to the market with N10,000, hardly will you see what you bought with the money.”


Buyers, traders at loggerheads in Abia

At the popular food markets in Urbani in Umuahia and Ariaria in Aba, traders and customers are unhappy about the soaring prices.

They lamented that most interactions in the market now ended on a negative note as both traders and buyers were always at loggerheads over the cost of food items.


This is worse than civil war – Imo residents cry out

Residents of Owerri, the Imo State capital, and its environs, have lamented the rising cost of living, saying that the situation is worse than what was experienced during the civil war.

Most of the residents who spoke to our correspondent said unless something was done urgently to address it, kwashiorkor might occur.

Mrs Ikedi said, “A bag of garri which we used to buy at N35,000 from Ohaji is now N70,000. A bag of rice is N36,000 as against N22,000. We are in for a serious problem in this country if something urgent is not done.”


We’re just surviving in Akwa Ibom

According to findings from our correspondent in Uyo, a 50kg bag of foreign rice sells for N28,000, while local rice of the same quantity is sold for N26,000.

One pound of meat now sells for N1,200 as against N800; a gallon of 25 litres of palm oil sells for N16,000, while that of 75cl sells for N600.

A food vendor at the University of Uyo, Esther Ekpo, told our correspondent that they now sold food just to survive and not to break even.

She said though they bought food items at high costs, they could not increase the price of a plate of food because the university would not allow them.

She said due to the increase in prices she could no longer buy food items like rice and garri in bags and so had resorted to buying in cups.


Life becoming more difficult – Edo residents

The scenario is not too different in Edo State as residents say life is becoming difficult due to the rise in the prices of food items.

Mrs Adams Johnson said before now if she went to the market with N5,000 and that she would be satisfied with what she bought, but that now the money hardly took care of a pot of soup.

Mr Abu Muhammed said the prices food items had increased beyond the reach of an average Nigerian.

He said Nigerians had to adjust to the situation by cutting down many items which were not very necessary.


Bayelsa residents want investment in agriculture

Residents of Bayelsa State have decried the rising cost of food prices in the state, urging the state government to invest in the agricultural sector by encouraging residents to go into commercial farming to ensure food sufficiency in the state.

Checks in some markets showed that prices of items which were a bit cheaper at the beginning of the year have all gone up.

For instance, five mid-size tubers of yam which were sold at N5,000 are now sold at N7,000 and N8,000, while the bigger ones are sold at N10,000 and above.

However, the prices of some petty food items such as pepper and onion seem to have come down due to the rainy season which makes them available.

The price of fish has also dropped because with the rising water level occasioned by the rainy season, fish are available in large quantities.


‘Govt must stop attacks on farmers’

A teacher and father of four in Lagos State, Mr Nicholas Uzo, decried the rising prices of food items, saying, it has attained an alarming situation.

According to him, the economy of Nigeria is balanced on a progressive inflation scale and worsens from one administration to the other.

While he identified agriculture as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, he decried the incessant attacks on farmers, which, according to him is affecting food security in the country.

He said, “How do you eat when you kill, slaughter and massacre those that provide the food that strengthens you? Our government has failed to understand that the result of failure to protect our farmers is inflation, and if not addressed urgently may lead to the worst famine in the history of mankind.”

Mrs Tosin Emodi, mother of three, said the present situation in Nigeria called for a declaration of a state of emergency in the agricultural sector; lamenting that citizens could barely feed.

The ex-banker said she had to venture into farming this year hoping that the produce would to some extent help feed her family.

She said, “It has really affected feeding in the family as we have to skip afternoon meals and do what I call 1-0-1 and sometimes 0-1-0 as the case may be despite the fact that salary earned by the head of the family still remains the same.”


Bauchi residents not happy

A newspaper vendor in Bauchi, Babayo Adamu, said the current situation had thrown his family into untold hardship.

He said, “I used to buy between 20 to 30 mudu of rice and maize, but due to the rise of food prices, I buy only five mudu.”

A trader at the Wunti market, Sabiu Aliyu, said the rising prices had weakened their daily sales.

He said, “We are not happy with the high increase of prices of food because our sales have dropped by more than 40 per cent. Sometimes you spend a day without selling your commodity, and you need to feed yourself and the family. The situation is gradually affecting our capital and if care is not taken there are tendencies that many small scale traders may be pushed out of the market.”


Insecurity in Yobe

Markets across Yobe State have experienced sharp increases in the prices of staple food commodities over the last three months.

A price list check by our correspondent in Damaturu indicated that food items recorded between 39 to 50 per cent hike in prices compared to the last three months.

The price of red bean topped among other commodities with 100kg bag soaring up to N51,000 as against N38,000, 100kg bag of local rice which was sold at N46,000 has now gone up to N50,000.

A 100kg bag of maize that was sold at N17,000 now sells at N23, 000;  100kg bag of millet sold at N16, 000 in the last three month is now N22,000, while a 100kg bag of  guinea corn that was sold at N14,000 is now N20,000.

Average consumers frowned at the development as the inflation bites harder beyond their reach.

Malam Umar Faruq, a dealer, believes that insecurity contributed hugely to the high cost of goods in the market.

According to him, farmers have been thrown into fear as they no longer accessed their farms.


Nasarawa residents cry out

Residents of Nasarawa State have continued to lament the high cost of food items across the 13 local government areas of the state.

Investigations by Daily Trust Saturday indicated that some households which cannot now afford to buy a full measure of rice have resolved to buying half measure.

Mr Collins Sunday said the increase in the prices of food items was worrisome, noting that not everybody could cope.

He, however, noted that the insecurity challenges the country was facing was the reason behind the spike in food prices.


Transportation cost doubles in Abuja

One challenge faced by all in the FCT traders is transportation. They complained that the cost of transporting goods had now doubled and that if they do not also increase the prices of their goods they would be running at a loss.

The increase in prices of foodstuff has been a major concern for Abuja residents. Livestock and food prices have skyrocketed and they are no longer affordable for the common man.

Maikudi Usman who sells meat at the Wuse market said customers were always complaining about the prices being given them, “Before we used to sell meat between N1,500 and N1,700 per kilo, but now we sell between N2,300 and N2,500 per kilo.”

Iliyasu who sells chicken at the Utako market said he tried to be lenient with customers and gave them chickens at whatever prices they could afford instead of using the kilo-weight system.

He said, “We used to sell broilers between N1,300 and N1,500 per kilo, now it’s selling at N2,000 to N2500. When my customers come, even if they want chicken for just N1,000, I still find a way to sell to them.”

Yusuf who sells tomato, pepper and onions at the Gudu market said some of the produce were not available in season and that it would cost more to purchase them from the farms and transport them to the cities.


RIPAN speaks

Earlier in the week, the Kano branch of the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) said it was operating at a loss with the current rate of N23,000 per 50kg bag, and that Nigerians should not expect price reduction soon.

The leadership of the association explained that the constant increase in the price was due to the increase in the price of paddy rice from N180,000 to N225,000 per tonne between April and June, as well as the hike in the price of diesel from N190 to N280 per litre.

The Kano RIPAN  also cited high foreign exchange (forex) rate and the difficulties in sourcing forex for the maintenance of industrial machines; hike electricity tariff from N40 to N71 per kilowatt hour (kwh) and the stoppage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) single-digit loan scheme for processors last year.


Contributions by Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna), Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos), Adama John (Lokoja), Mumini AbdulKareem (Ilorin), Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna), Tijjani Ibrahim (Katsina), Ainau Bello & Usman Bello Balarabe (Kano), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ado-Ekiti), Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri), Iniabasi Umo (Uyo), Linus Effiong (Umuahia), Usman A. Bello (Benin), Bassey Willie (Yenagoa), Christiana T. Alabi (Lagos), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Ibrahim Baba Saleh (Damaturu), Umar Muhammed (Lafia) & Rosemary Etim Bassey (Abuja)

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