Food in Nigeria is becoming more expensive than ever before. Ordinarily, Africa’s largest economy with vast land of 1,200 km from east to west and about 1,050 km from north to south, should be a food hub.
The failure to adequately tackle insecurity in the country to enable farmers go back to farms and inability to quickly move from consumption to production mode are all notable shortcomings.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), weekend, released its April report on Selected Food Prices Watch, revealing a substantial surge in the prices of various food items in Nigeria.
The report provides valuable insights into the year-on-year and month-on-month changes in prices, as well as regional disparities.
In April 2023, the average price of 1kg of tomatoes experienced a significant year-on-year increase of 13.73 percent, reaching N485.10 compared to N426.54 in April 2022. On a month-on-month basis, tomato prices rose by 3.97 percent in April compared to March 2023.
Brown Beans Prices
The average price of 1kg of brown beans (sold loose) witnessed a year-on-year increase of 16.03 percent, rising from N530.62 in April 2022 to N615.67 in April 2023. In the same period, brown beans prices increased by 3.13 percent on a month-on-month basis.
Onions saw a year-on-year increase of 15.87 percent in the average price of 1kg of onion bulb, rising from N380.94 in April 2022 to N441.38 in April 2023. However, there was a slight month-on-month decrease of 0.67 percent in April compared to March 2023.
The average price of 1kg of yam surged by 23.12 percent on a year-on-year basis, reaching N444.69 in April 2023 from N361.20 in April 2022. Month-on-month, yam prices increased by 0.38 percent in April compared to March 2023.
Boneless Beef Prices
Boneless beef experienced a substantial year-on-year increase of 23.13 percent, with the average price of 1kg rising from N2,026.8 in April 2022 to N2,495.69 in April 2023. On a month-on-month basis, boneless beef prices increased by 0.65 percent in April compared to March 2023.
Imo state recorded the highest average price for 1kg of boneless beef at N3,277.11, while Kogi state had the lowest at N1,789.67. Edo state had the highest average price for 1kg of tomatoes at N950.62, whereas Kogi state had the lowest at N205.26.
Ebonyi state had the highest price for 1kg of brown beans (sold loose) at N961.74, while Niger state had the lowest at N428.57. Cross River state had the highest average price for 1kg of onion bulb at N987.39, while Katsina state had the lowest at N163.33.
Akwa Ibom state had the highest average price for 1kg of yam tuber at N920.15, while Benue state had the lowest at N200.37. Abia state had the highest average price for one bottle of vegetable oil at N1,694.74, while Kogi state had the lowest at N735.33.
The Southeast region had the highest average price for 1kg of boneless beef at N3,223.05, followed by the South-South region at N2,673.33. The North-Central region had the lowest average price at N2,133.46. The South-South and South-East regions had the highest average prices for 1kg of tomatoes at N849.
The rising prices of essential food items such as tomatoes, beans, and yams in Nigeria have significant implications for the population.
Firstly, consumers are forced to spend more on these goods, leading to a higher cost of living and straining household budgets, particularly for low-income individuals and families.
Additionally, the increase in food prices reduces purchasing power, limiting people’s ability to afford necessities and hindering their quality of life and financial stability.
Furthermore, the report highlights the alarming rise in food prices both on a yearly and monthly basis, raising concerns about food security in the country. When a significant portion of the population cannot afford or access affordable food, it results in heightened food insecurity and increased hunger.
The impact of higher food prices extends to nutrition, especially for vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. With nutritious food becoming more expensive, individuals may resort to cheaper, less nutritious alternatives, leading to a decline in overall health and well-being.
Moreover, rising food prices pose economic challenges at a broader level. They contribute to increased inflation rates, which can negatively affect the overall stability of the economy. Additionally, businesses and farmers in the agricultural sector face difficulties due to higher production costs and reduced consumer demand.
What Should be Done
To address these implications, the government and relevant stakeholders must implement effective measures. These include promoting sustainable agricultural practices, investing in infrastructure, supporting small-scale farmers, and implementing social safety nets to assist vulnerable populations.
Establishing robust food security programs that support small-scale farmers, encourage sustainable agricultural practices, and develop strategic reserves will contribute to long-term solutions.
Tackling the challenges posed by rising food prices requires comprehensive actions to stabilize prices, enhance agricultural productivity, and improve food security in Nigeria.
By implementing these strategies, the country can alleviate the burden on its citizens and ensure a more sustainable and secure food system.