By Francis Akinnodi
There is no denying the fact that not a few household across the country are worried about the rising price of rice as a 50kg bag of the staple food, which sold for between N30, 000 and N35,000 between December 2022 and February 2023, has increased to between N40, 000 and N48, 000, depending on the brand across markets in the country.
Expectedly, the repercussion is playing out in households across Nigeria as consumers are grappling with the soaring price of the staple food.
In fact, the development has provoked hunger in households who can no longer afford the product, even as traders and other stakeholders have also cried out, saying that the development is capable of aggravating the hardship in the country.
For an Akure resident, Caroline Adepoju, it was a question of trying to figure out how to cook rice for her children as the prices of other ingredients that go with the food have also increased.
She says, “Rice meal cannot be cooked without making stew, and stew on its own requires varieties of ingredients which are also increasing in prices by each passing day.
She explained, “I just decided to be cooking rice once in a week unlike in the past when we eat the meal on daily basis.”
Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Taiwo Ogunleye said, “Food items are very costly in the market, and the situation is very hard for those of us that are salary earners.
“Things are so difficult, and as a result, we are just managing to survive. In fact, it is not just about rice, the increase cut across the segments of other food items.
She explained that higher cost of foodstuffs has forced not a few restaurants, including roadside bukkas and ‘Mama put ‘joints, to increase the prices of different dishes on their menu and observed that the development had, in turn, forced some customers to stay away because they could not afford meals as in the past.
In a similar vein, Tolu Ajayi, told The Hope that he has reduced the portion of food that his family consumes to adjust to recent economic realities.
“He said, as it is now I could not expediently afford to feed my family with unlike before as the price is almost N1000. As it is now, we eat more beans because it is cheaper, but cook it on a charcoal stove to save gas.
He said most households have gone back to the era when rice was eaten once a year in most homes, reminiscing that the reason why it was eaten once a year was because it was unaffordable by many, and considered to be food for the rich.
Chairman, Sunshine Rice Farmers Association, Oladapo George expressed fear that food insecurity might reach its worst level in Nigeria if the present scarcity of paddy, a major raw material for the production of finished rice, persisted in the country, and stressed that several millers had cut down production from 24 to 12 hours, while laying off factory workers.
He, therefore, called on the federal government’s intervention in the area of mechanisation and assisting the farmers with inputs that would enable all-year-round production.