Cash-strapped consumers battle high food prices as Christmas beckons

As Christmas beckons, prices of staple foods have risen significantly, pricing out many Nigerian consumers who are battling falling disposable income.
Novus Agro prices show that the price of a 50 kg of rice rose 22.31 percent, moving from N14,500 in December 2017 to N17,735 in the same period of 2018. The price of chicken laps increased 21 percent to N11, 500 in December 2018, from N9,500 in the corresponding period of 2017.
Similarly, meat lovers may be a bit disappointed as the price of a cow in major markets in Lagos rose to N200,000 this December, from  N150,000 a month ago. This has also affected the meat bought by retailers as prices rise between 30 and 70 percent in major markets.
Adigun, a meat seller at Mushin Market in Lagos, said regardless of the hike in the price of cows, business continues.
He said though consumers complain bitterly about the prices, they still buy varied quantities because meat is an essential part of their meal.
Iya Dami, a trader who sells pepper, onions and tomatoes at Mushin, Lagos, complained that the economic situation has affected the price and availability of the goods negatively.
“People have been complaining of the poor economic situation of the country in recent times, which led to the hike in prices of various consumer goods in the market as well as its availability. The rise in the price of perishable goods was due to the market forces, cost of transportation and farmers influence. But now, the prices of tomatoes and pepper are relatively affordable compared to onions which cost N32,000 per bag.”
She said she has to beg customers to buy because the commodities are perishable and if not sold will count as losses.
Amusan Adijat, a trader dealing in rice, vegetable oil, palm oil and frozen food complained that price increases emanate from wholesalers.
She complained that those who provide transport and logistics services have raised their own prices, which she must transfer to the final consumer.
A report released by the FBN quest research showed that there is the possibility of an increase in inflation in the coming year which will be influenced by food prices.
The festive season is usually characterised by various activities which affect prices of consumer goods.
Real household consumption and government consumption expenditures declined in 2017 (at –0.99 percent) while national disposable income fell by 1.52 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from 18.8 percent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest figure from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Nigeria is now the poverty capital, with 87 million people living in extreme poverty.
However, prices of some items are moving southwards. The price of a 25-litre gallon of palm oil fell by 13.6 percent, from N12,500 in 2017 to 10,800 in 2018. The price of a bag of beans fell 2.5 percent, from N40,000 in 2017 to N39,000  this December.
Also, A bag of garri had a huge decline of 66.25 percent, falling from  N13,335 in 2017 to N4,500 in 2018.


Faminu Gbemi

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