High cost of food items: Interstate food importation goes viral

Food inflation appears to have come to stay. The Federal Government appears helpless with ideas to check this hydra-headed monster. But Nigerians have not given up hope.

If there is anywhere the food crisis is a major concern, it is in Lagos State. This is mainly because virtually all Nigerians are living in this most populous commercial city in Africa. So, Lagosians known for their exquisite lifestyle have long worn their thinking cap since the economy is no longer friendly to either the rich or the poor.

Maintaining a standard of living has dealt rigorously with the savings of most families, and means of cutting costs become more natural than a strategy.

So, with the prices of foodstuff like garri, yam, cocoyam, sweet potato, Irish potato, egusi, ogbono, yam flour, groundnut, and palm oil among others on the rooftop in the state, families have designed a cheaper method of getting them cheaper.

Economy&Lifestyle has discovered that most households in Lagos now send money to family members in the states where food items are cheap, to help them buy.

The food items are delivered to them through interstate travel buses.

This, according to Mrs. Helen Nwachukwu, a resident in Lagos, has been her saving grace since the price of yam and garri increased.

“The price of food, especially those planted and cultivated in this country, has continued to increase daily.

“Look at beans, which are hardly consumed by many, its price has tripled within the space of two months. The price of beans is now N13,000.

“It has increased more than the price of rice that is mostly consumed.

“Garri is there too. Even palm oil and yam are not exempted.

“Food, which is our major need for survival, is now difficult to afford in Lagos.

“I had to borrow some sense. I send money home to my niece to buy me these foodstuffs in bulk and waybill it.

“I pay less than N20,000 for the waybill because it is from the east.

“Sometimes, I call my friend in Edo state to waybill palm oil and ogbono which I pay N5,000 for it.
“I buy them in large quantities which lasts up to four to six months. This tactics has saved me alot.”

Mrs. Sandra Osakpolor, a businesswoman resident in Lagos said that she orders her garri, palm kernel fruit, plantain, starch and yam from Edo State.

She said: “Two weeks ago, I had to send money to my sister in Edo State to buy plantain, garri, palm kernel fruit, starch and yam for myself and my family.

“If it were before when the transport fare to my place had not increased, I would have spent at least N10,000 to and fro and used the opportunity to bring this foodstuff to Lagos.
“In my state, such food items are planted in households and the excesses are sold out.

“We are involved in planting a lot and this has opened such an opportunity for me.”

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, latest Transport Fare Watch showed that the average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity per drop was N7,129.46 in May 2024, indicating an increase of 78.14 per cent year-on-year (YoY) from N4,002.16 in May 2023.

Mrs. Marvin Akinsina, a trader, said she has to get her vegetables like cabbage, carrot and others from the north.

She said: “I buy my vegetables like cabbage, carrot, spring onion among other things from the north.

“What I do is get some of my friends. We contribute money and send the money to a friend of mine in the north.

“She buys those foodstuffs and sends it down to me with a maximum of N15,000 to N20,000.
“When the goods arrive, we share them accordingly and this strategy has helped me to cut costs. The way the price of food locally produced in the country is increasing even more than those imported is alarming.

“The federal government needs to address this issue with immediate effect to avoid people from dying from hunger and military increased robbery.”

On his part, Mr. Joel Osas, an interstate bus driver said: “Frankly speaking, we no longer have people travelling home anymore.

“Most times when we load buses, we have more food items than passengers travelling to Lagos. It shows the rate people are trying to cut costs for survival.

“These foodstuffs are mainly what we plant in Nigeria. Sadly, our people are struggling to afford what we have in the country, especially food and fuel. May God direct our leaders right.”

NBS latest Selected Food Price Watch report showed that the average price of 1 kilogram (Kg) of beans brown (sold loose) increased by 219.05 per cent on a YoY basis from N 629.75 in May of last year (2023) to N 2,009.23 in May 2024.

It added: “On a month-on-month, MoM, basis, the average price of this item increased by 44.77 per cent from N1,387.90 in April 2024.

“Furthermore, the average price of 1 kg Garri white sold loose rose by 200.12 per cent on a YoY basis from N371.42 in May 2023 to N 1,114.72 in May 2024, while there was an increase of 30.87 per cent on a MoM basis. “Also, the average price of 1kg of Yam tuber increased by 189.2 per cent on a YoY basis from N457.25 in May 2023 to N1,322.36 in May 2024.

“On a MoM basis, it increased by 16.98 per cent from N 1,130.37 in April 2024. “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *