“I can’t just give my kids what they really need in terms of food,” said Fintola Bolaji, a mother of three in her fifties who lives in the southwestern Nigerian city of Ibadan.
Nigerian merchant Feyntola Bolazi, who has been struggling with stagnant earnings and declining sales, is now slashing rising prices to meet the demands of his food suppliers, allowing him to reduce the amount of clothing he can put on his family’s table.
Across Africa’s most populous country, the Bolaji belt is divided into millions. Shortly after the Nigerian statistics agency published that one of the continent’s three largest economies was unemployed, it announced on Thursday that food inflation had risen to its highest level in 15 years and many households were suffering.
“It’s really bad,” said Balaji, a mother of three in her fifties in the southwestern city of Ibadan. “It’s really bad, I just can’t give my kids what they need in terms of food. “I try to get them to get the nutrition they need like older children, but it’s not enough,” he added. “I had to skip meat and fish.”
Rebellion, instability and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government’s stance on food imports in a country where food insecurity is deteriorating in Africa is where more than half the population lives on less than ড 2 a day. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus epidemic, a Covid-19 impact survey published by the Statistics Agency last month, found that 70% of Nigerians had some income snatching.
Foodgrain inflation rose to 22.95% in March, due to wide price increases in items such as cereals, yams, meat, fish and fruits. Part of the cost of this increase has been blamed on the growing conflict between Nigerian farmers and pastoralists who have struggled to leave Buhari.
The instability, weak currency and high fuel prices combined with a decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the north have also contributed to rising food prices, according to SBM Intelligence, a Nigerian research firm.
Despite the reopening of Nigeria’s land border in December after a 16-month shutdown in an attempt to stop the movement, the situation has been exacerbated by import bans such as rice on some paddy despite Budhari.
Rising inflation has adversely affected the profits of producers and is a major contributor to the low export penetration of Nigerian products made in the international market, the Nigerian Manufacturers Association said in a statement on Friday.
“There is an urgent need for the government to deliberately ensure price stability before the situation becomes dire,” the manufacturing company said.
Cheta Nawanje, a top partner in the SBM intelligence agency, said food prices would remain high as long as the security crisis, which prevented farmers from returning to their lands, continued. “Unless the government acts wisely and does not allow food to be imported,” he said.
By then, Nigerians, who had already spent more than half of their income on food, had to cut back. According to the Nigerian Statistics Agency, between July and December last year, all households reduced consumption by more than 50% due to double the pressure on wages and rising food spending.
Kemi Adigba, a 42-year-old freelance writer living in Lagos, the country’s financial capital, is one of the victims. Adigba has two growing teenagers to feed, but has been working steadily since December, when her monthly food bill has risen nearly 70%.
“If you’re lucky you get repetitive jigs with the way the economy is running down the toilet,” he said. “It’s a nightmare.”