By Sumayyah Auwal Ishaq
Nigeria seems to be plunging into a new dimension of economic crisis as food inflation reached a new high in most of the northern region, hitherto considered the country’s food basket.
The prices of essential food items are rising astronomically, preventing many Nigerians from feeding adequately. The rising cost affects domestic and imported foods like rice, beans, tomatoes, pepper, onion, flour, egg, oils, bread, plantain, fruits, frozen foods, and yam. These staple foods that Nigerians consume daily. This coincides with a season of national economic downturn, high inflation, and depreciation of the national currency.
A random survey conducted across major markets in Kaduna and other parts of the country by The Daily Reality this week has shown that a 50 kilogram (kg) of foreign rice sold for N27, 000 earlier in the year, sells for N34000 today. The same size of local rice sold for N19, 000 between January and April now sells between N25,000 and 28,000, depending on the brand.
The cost of beans, regarded as a meal for the lower class, is anything but disheartening. Presently, a bag of 50kg beans that previously sold for N27,000 rose to N37,000 and now sells for N47,000.
In the Bakin Dogo market, the prices of tomatoes, sweet potato, Irish potato, and onions have all doubled, making it difficult for many Nigerians. In February this year, one litre (or bottle) of palm oil was N400, while five litters was N2,000. But now, 1 litre of palm oil went up to N900; 5ltrs was N2,000. And as of September, 1ltr and five litres of palm oil had gone up to N700 and N3,500. A bottle of palm oil sold for between N250 and N300 is N800. A bag of onions is N24, 000, as against N12, 500 it sold in March this year.
Items whose prices have shot up are endless. Beyond food items, groceries, transport fare, school fees, house rent, cooking gas, and everything that concerns a man’s livelihood has seen their prices skyrocket, much to the chagrin of Nigerians, particularly low- and fixed-income earners.