Last year we reported on how preparing a pot of Jollof Rice cost a fortune, sadly, nothing positive has happened to the food prices in the country since then. The situation has gotten direr. This, of course, is hinged on the soaring inflation rate, which is presently at 19.64 per cent, the highest in 17 years-since September 2005.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said in its Selected Food Prices Watch Report for July 2022 that the prices of selected food items have soared again. The data, collected from over 10,000 respondents across all the 774 local governments across all states, and the FCT reflects the prices households bought selected food items.
The NBS stated that the average price of 1kg of white beans rose by 23.22 per cent from N444.21 in July 2021 to N547.38 in July 2022. On a month-on-month basis, this increased by 2.09% from N536.17 in June 2022.
The average price of 1kg of Tomato in July 2022 was N446.81, an increase of 7.71% from N414.83 in July 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the average price of this item increased by 1.94% from N438.33 in June 2022.
Similarly, the average price of 1kg beef in July 2022 was N2,118.84, an increase of 27.58% from N1,660.76 recorded in July 2021. This price rose by 1.87% on a month-on-month basis.
In addition, the average price of 1 bottle of groundnut oil and palm oil stood at N1,078.17, and N890.67 respectively in July 2022, showing an increase of 40.24% from N768.81 and 40.19% from N635.31 in July 2021. On a month-on-month basis, groundnut oil rose by 1.44% from N1,062.90 in June 2022, while palm oil grew by 2.27% on a month-on-month basis.
The average price of 1kg Rice (locally sold loose) in July 2022 was N467.80, indicating an increase of 13.55% from the value recorded in July 2021 (N411.97). On a month-on-month basis, it decreased by 4.27% from N488.68 recorded in June 2022.
A state-by-State analysis showed that Ebonyi recorded the highest average price of 1kg of white beans in July 2022 at N900.51, while the lowest price was in Borno at N317.73.
The highest average price of 1kg of Tomato was recorded in Edo at N799.16, while the lowest was in Taraba at N159.14. In the same vein, Rivers recorded the highest price of 1kg Rice (locally sold loose) with N619.62, while the lowest was in Jigawa with N363.34.
Analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average price of Beans “brown sold loose” with N853.19, followed by the South-West with N598.00, while the Northeast recorded the least with N379.03.
For tomatoes, the South-East recorded the highest average price at N678.80, followed by the North-West at N656.93, and the North-East at N194.72.
The average price of 1kg Rice in the North-West was N796.03, representing the highest recorded in July 2022, followed by the South-West with N519.64, while the North-Central had the lowest with N401.72.
Solving the unending crises.
Earlier in June, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said that the current inflation of food prices across the country may drive more Nigerians into poverty unless appropriate measures were taken.
Although the high price of food was not peculiar to Nigeria, Mr Abubakar explained that climate change had negatively impacted agricultural production in Nigeria. Extreme weather events, irregular rainfall patterns, and water scarcity are all evidence of climate change hampering agricultural buoyancy. Therefore, there is a need for climate-smart agriculture.
Besides climate change, insecurity is another contributive factor to food inflation. This is obvious, especially in northern Nigeria, where terrorism and banditry have displaced several farmers. Efforts to protect farmers and their properties should be a top priority for the government.
While this is not an exhaustive list of ways to mitigate food inflation, the government should also seek to regulate the high cost of farm inputs and energy prices and financially boost farmers with low-interest loans for expansion.