Nigerians Battling For Survival As Food Prices Continue To Surge

Food prices in Nigeria are currently at their highest level as the country’s annual inflation rose to a new 28-year high.

All traders, consumers and producers across the food supply chains are lamenting the surge in food prices.

Naija News market survey at the Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji Sunday market in Ogba, Lagos, shows the current price surge is evident in all classes of food consumed almost daily, leaving Nigeria’s enormous population of poor citizens to spend more to get food and key ingredients amidst stagnated income.

The survey shows that the rise in the prices of essential food items and ingredients is largely triggered by the instability of the exchange rate of naira, insecurity, unavailability of fertilizer and high cost of transportation of products within and across states in the country.

However, the government’s efforts to upscale domestic food production to force down prices have yielded little or no impact in solving the problem of price surges.

Expressing ordeal over the current situation, a trader at the market, identified as Deborah, said, the recent surge in prices of goods has led to massive debt and losses.

She said, “Before, when we buy goods, we know it is expensive but not as much as this, we are always at a loss and we hardly make a profit. Please let the government help us and do something so people don’t kill themselves because the debt is too much.”

Another trader, while complaining about the cost of fresh tomato and pepper, said, “Customers are always complaining that the goods are too expensive, and we are always at a loss. A crate of tomatoes is now 80,000, 75,000, and a basket is 150,000. We need something to be done about it.”

The economic situation is also biting hard at the onion section, as a bag of onion now sells at N85,000.

Rice, considered a staple food among Nigerians, is not different as quality rice sells between N75,000 to N85,000 while a bag of beans (100kg) sells at N200,000, and the small size sells at N180,000.

Eggs, which many households substituted for other proteins, experienced a noticeable uptick across the country as a crate sells for N4,500 while they retail at N200 each.

In an interview with Naija News, some Nigerians spoke about their ordeal and how they have navigated the situation.

Bimpe Akinbode said, “It has not been easy at all, we have to learn to adjust to situations of things. Especially in the area of pepper we have to adjust to using (atagbigbe) (Bell pepper) in place of rodo and sachets tomatoes and sometimes use black pepper to cook Egusi and that. Making fried rice in place of jollof rice because of how expensive pepper is. Subscribing to 1:0: 1. While some people only do dinner 0:0:1 just to reduce spending.”

Priscilla Segun also said, “The current price of food stuff is getting out of hand, things are very expensive is only God that will help us. A cup of rice is N450, imagine what people with five children are going through. They are selling fresh pepper at the rate of N500, four seeds of tomato is sold for N1,000. You can’t cook jollof rice even tin and sachet tomato have increased.

“Look at Dano full cream millk I usually get for my children for N3,500 or N4,000 is now N8600. N10, worth of food items is even little. Even the fish that people rarely buy the least is N3500 or N3,000. When you ask why things are currently expensive they blame it on fuel and transportation. We are buying a basket of garri for N4,000 and Nigerians are farmers.”

A man identified as Abdulazeez accused some Nigerians of using the economic situation to dupe buyers and called on the Federal Government to employ a mechanism to control the prices of food items.

He said, “A lot of people are using the economic situation to dupe their fellow Nigerians and blame it on fuel subsidy removal and Tinubu’s policies.

“Can you imagine that some sellers will keep what they bought previously at a certain amount but refuse to sell those items? They keep the items to watch when the prices go higher so they can double the price and make a higher gain.

“I will suggest that the government monitor and control the prices of goods. This will help a lot in curtailing the rising cost of things.’’ 

While the prices of food items have continued to increase with uncertainties about when the country will experience a sigh of relief, President Bola Tinubu, in his nationwide broadcast on June 12 during Nigeria’s 25th anniversary of democracy, urged Nigerians to endure the hardships of economic reforms, stating that the steps are required to put the country on solid economic footing.

He said, “As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.”

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