Food Prices Increasing As Inflation Hits 11-Year High

In the past six months, the prices of essential food items have risen significantly in consonance with the rising level of inflation in the country, which hit an 11-year high of 16.5 per cent last month.

Stakeholders in the food supply chain attributed hike in food prices to the poor state of the economy occasioned by the declining supply of commodities, rise in fuel price and the devaluation of naira.

Wholesale and retail traders in Lagos complained that every time they decided to stock new supplies of food items, the prices would have been increased by the suppliers.

The National Bureau of Statistics had released the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, stating that the country’s inflation rate rose from 15.6 per cent in May to 16.5 per cent in June.

June’s rise in inflation rate represents one of the highest to be recorded by the country over a decade.

Surveys across some markets in Lagos by Punch revealed that the prices of semovita, vegetable oil, palm oil, fish, spaghetti, rice, beans and garri, among others, had soared in the last six months.

It was observed that the prices of 500g packs of spaghetti and macaroni had increased from N120 to N180 between February and July this year.

On the average, semovita has experienced about 70 per cent rise in price from N200 for the 1kg bag, to N340; while a 1kg bag of processed wheat has doubled to N280 from N140 at the beginning of the year; garri has also recorded 100 per cent increase within the same period.

Following the same trend, the price of the 100kg bag of red beans has increased from N20,300 to N23,000; while a 50kg bag of rice recorded about 40 per cent price hike from N10,300 to N14,000 in the same period.

For imported vegetable oil, the owner of Okikiola Ventures at the Ipodo Market, Ikeja, Mrs. Aboidun Adefolami, said that a 25-litre container of the product imported from Malaysia was being sold for N10,000 instead of N6,200 in January, while 25 litres of palm oil attracted N7,000 instead of N6,000.

A wholesale trader of fish at the Agege Market, Mrs. Abosede Moshood, explained that a carton of Alaska brand of fish cost N11,300, a 22 per price increase from N9,300 that it sold for in February.

Within the same period, she added that Titus mackerel fish, which was selling for N10,400, now cost N13,000, while the price of Blue whiting had risen from N8,400 to N8,700.

The inflation rate had been experiencing an upward swing in the last seven months, a development an analyst described as worrisome.

The implication of the resurgence in inflation, analysts say, is that consumers will experience tougher times ahead due to the reduction in their purchasing power.

Nigerians are looking up to the government to rise to the challenge and chat the way out.