It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the entire world economy, Nigeria not left out of the current economic challenges.
Thus, food security globally is of immense concern to world leaders and other stakeholders.
Nigeria is more affected by the pandemic apparently because of it’s obstructed food production in the country.
Experts identified the prevalent security challenges especially in the northern part of the country as one of the factors responsible for food scarcity.
The recent flooding in Kebbi, Jigawa and other parts of Nigeria that has submerged many farms especially that of rice, would no dought affect the harvest of this year’s raining season.
Recently, the Central bank of Nigerian said it has stopped giving forex for the importation of maize, this singular action by the apex bank is responsible for the hike in the price of the commodity in the market.
Although, the apex bank made a u-turn last week, when it approved four firms, Wacot Limited, Chi farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited and Premier Feeds Company Limited to import cumulatively 262,000 tons of maize into the country.
For example, internal movement barriers and lack of transportation can lead to food not making its way from rural areas to urban markets thereby causing a mismatch in supply and perhaps upward pressure on prices.
PlatinumPost investigation carried out in Dutse, Masaka market, in the FCT, Abuja and Nasarawa state showed that prices of grains, in particular, has skyrocketed.
Dutse market, Abuja
Mrs Ngozika Ugwuja, a trader said “the increase is affecting us, because the money that was used in buying like ten bags of rice is now used for five bags, and the sales are not moving like it was even customer has reduced the quantity there buy.
“I think the price started increasing in July, August because, in April, May the prices were not as high as it is now.
“Those who supply us are saying that there is no rice in the market, blaming the ban on importation of foreign rice for the hike in the price of both Nigeria and foreign rice.
“Sincerely I don’t know when the price will drop because, when we ask the supplies, they tell us there is no rice and the supplies are not assuring us that there will be enough rice by December.
“I don’t see the price coming down soon, and I don’t think it will go up either because from the look of things the supplies are saying that new rice is out and the price is supposed to come down but the price is still increasing.
“The government can help us do something about it because the common man can no longer eat rice anymore, rice is now for the wealthy people and because of the high price people now go for the locally manufactured rice to feed the families.
New Orange market in Nasarawa
A trader Mr Godwin attah, at new orange market stated that the prices of foodstuffs Keep increasing higher by the day, Particularly the grain food, Beans, maize, and are.
Mr Godwin said in May, this year a bag of Nigeria made rice was sold at the price of N18,00 but now it is been sold for N25,000. While a bag of beans that was sold for N14,000 is now N21,000.
Also, A bag of garri that was sold for N10,000 is now N16,000-N18,000.
He further expressed his dismay of lack of patronage due to the shutdown of some businesses and borders by government.
When asked if he thinks the federal government can do something about the Situation, Godwin called for help from the federal government to ease the restriction and open borders so that people can go back to their various businesses to make earns meet.
He believed by so doing food prices and other essential commodities may be reduced.
Masaka market in Nasarawa
Reacting to the hike in the price of food items in the market, a trader by the name Jude Kelechi lamented over the increment in the price of commodities, he gave an example of some commodities that the prices have risen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
For instance, he said a bag of Guniea corn and millet before the COVID-19 pandemic were sold for ₦10,000 a bag and module was sold for ₦170 but during the pandemic, the price is now ₦22,000 a bag and module is now sold for ₦350.
As for the price of rice, Jude said before the COVID-19 pandemic, a bag of rice(local Nigeria rice) was sold for ₦12,500 and ₦13,000, while a module was sold for ₦250, ₦300 respectively, again during the lockdown the price for local rice climb to ₦20, 000 while a module goes for ₦350, ₦400.
He further emphasises on the price of beans before COVID-19, he said, a bag of beans was sold for ₦14,000 and module was sold for ₦180, ₦200.
He added during the pandemic a bag of beans is selling for ₦26,000, while the module is sold for ₦400.
Mr Jude lamented over the poor turn out of customers are not patronising them any longer.
Another, a trader in Masaka market Mrs, Onyekachi speaking to our correspondent concerning the price of food items sold in the market, gave an overview of price of rice and gari in price comparison before and during the pandemic.
she said as of February and March before COVID-19 foreign rice was sold for ₦25,000 a bag and ₦500 a module and that of homegrown rice was sold for ₦13,000 a bag and ₦300 a module. While a bag of gari was sold for ₦6,000 (white gari) and ₦7,500 (yellow gari) and module for white gari was sold for ₦100 and module for yellow gari was sold for ₦150 respectively.
Responding to questions about customers reactions to the increment in the price of food items sold in the market, she said ” we find it difficult to sell, costumers are unable to buy like before and there is a shortage of customers in the market but people must eat to survive which is the only reason why we are still selling the one we are selling.
“Many customers find it difficult to afford three square meal a day some drink gari with their children throughout the day due to their inability to purchase food items.
“Many lost their job and some are yet to restore their job as a result of the pandemic which put families in a critical condition to feed”.
Mrs Onyekachi narrated an incident that occurred recently which the location and the name of the person did not mention, said: “as a result of an extreme hunger a boy was caught in an act of stealing so he can afford a meal and as a result, was killed”.
She calls on the government to come to the aid of the masses so to alleviate their suffering.
“The government should open border so that there can be more food in circulation and bring an end to this hunger and shortage of food which also contributed directly to the high cost”. She added.