Economy and Business

Complaints galore as soaring food prices worsen economic hardship for Nigerian families

Nigerian families are grappling with the harsh realities of soaring prices of staple foods, exacerbating the economic hardships faced by households.

Despite various interventions by the Federal Government, the cost of essential food items like rice, beans, eggs, tomatoes, and peppers has witnessed a significant surge.

The surge in food prices is putting immense pressure on family budgets, leaving many mothers and households struggling to cope with the escalating cost of living.

The cost of eggs has surged from N2,700 per crate in December 2023 to nearly N5,000, resulting in a substantial increase in the price of a single egg from N100 to N200.

Long grain rice, which was priced at around N47,000 per bag in December, has risen sharply to almost N80,000. This has led to a paint bucket of long grain rice now selling for N7,000, compared to N4,500 in December.

Essential vegetables like pepper and tomatoes have become more expensive, with sellers offering only six to seven balls of scotch bonnet pepper for N200. The same quantity of tomatoes is now sold for over N200.

Mothers and families express concern that the money allocated for feeding is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of their households. The escalating prices are forcing families to reconsider their food choices and consumption patterns.

A mother of four, Mrs Tomiwa Ogo, said her family moved to eggs as a cheaper option with the increase in the cost of chicken and beef.

She told Punch, “I don’t know what the government wants us to do. My family’s monthly feeding allowance for more than two years was N40,000.

“In January, my husband increased it to N60,000; I am shocked that it is still not enough. I carry everything I buy with that money in just two sack bags. I cannot even afford to buy rice and beans the way I used to.

“We stopped eating meat in my house in January. We opted for eggs. Now, I don’t know if buying meat is better than getting eggs. Egg now sells for almost N5,000 a crate. I bought it for N4,700 last week. How do we survive?”

Another mother, Mrs Tomike Adefarati, said a paint bucket of tomatoes she bought for around N2,000 in December now sells for N4,500. The price of pepper, according to her, has also doubled.

“Now, they no longer sell pepper and tomatoes for N200 like they used to do. If they sell pepper and tomatoes for N500, you will be shocked about the outcome.

“It is very small. I counted just seven or eight balls of scotch bonnet (atarodo) peppers for N200. The situation is just too much for me,” Adefarati stated.

Traders also expressed the difficulties they face in selling produce to customers due to the increased cost of foodstuffs.

A foodstuffs wholesaler, Emma Azubike, said, “The cost is not only affecting the customers, but is also affecting us, the sellers, because you have to speak so much to convince some customers that the prices have increased.

“When you tell them the prices, and you don’t explain more to them, they will leave, and not everyone will come back when they eventually find out in other places that what you told them is true. So, it is affecting the sales.”

A trader in Lagos, Madam Ireti, said, “We only know the price of the foodstuffs today; you don’t know what will be tomorrow, and that is the major problem.

“As you are aware, we also buy from people; they can come today, and by tomorrow, the cost of an item will have increased; you will not have a choice but to buy it and also increase the cost.

“It is like a chain that when anything happens at the top or the middle, it will affect the bottom. We only hope the government does something as soon as possible to resolve these issues before things get out of hand.”

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