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Christmas food rises most in 10years on surging market prices

Food on the Christmas menu will cost Nigerians an average of 50 percent more this year, the biggest annual increase in a decade African biggest economy has seen, BusinessDay’s market food price analysis shows.

Prices of all food items have soared in 2021, and consumer goods analysts blame this on the pandemic impact, weakening naira, and escalating insecurity that led to a shortfall in food production.

As a result, the inflationary pressure has shrunk the value of consumers’ disposable income, stretched budgets, and forced many to cut down on their purchases for the festive season.

“It has been a very difficult year. Prices of everything have doubled and we can no longer afford the menu we usually have for Christmas this year,” Funmilayo Adegoke, a mother of three who was at Mile 12 Market Lagos to make purchases, told BusinessDay.

“I will be spending twice what I spent last year on Christmas this year to get less.”

The pandemic disruption on the global supply chain, command-style economic management, and bleak oil future have made Nigeria’s naira lose over 8.4 percent of its value from January to date.

The World Bank had in November urged the central bank to improve its exchange-rate management in order to speed up other reforms, adding that the naira’s black market premium was fuelling inflation.

Also, food production has been greatly impacted in 2021 as farmers in the country have had to abandon their farmlands owing to escalating issues of kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism in major crops-producing states, leading to production shortfall.

The combinations of all these factors have lifted the average cost of all food staples across the country. However, the country’s inflation has slowed for eight straight consecutive months to 15.40 percent in November 2021, but still surpasses the central bank’s single-digit target.

“No matter how much you take to the market, you still cannot buy anything because of high prices,” Adegoke, earlier quoted, said.

“And despite the high rate of inflation in the economy, workers’ salaries are still the same.”

The average price of a pot of jollof rice – a key staple in the Christmas menu for a family of five costs N8,007 in September 2021 as against N4,087 it costs in July 2016, a 96 percent increase in price, an SBM Intelligence jollof rice index shows.

BusinessDay survey at Iddo, Oyingbo, Mile 12, Mushin, and Ogba markets in Lagos shows that a 50kg bag of local parboiled rice sells for an average of N27,000 from an average of N22,000 a year ago, indicating a 23 percent increase.

Similarly, a 50kg bag of foreign rice sells for N29,000, up from N26,000 last December.

A 100kg bag of beans (drum) sells for an average of N65,000 from an average of N9,000 a year ago, indicating a 622.2 percent rise in price.

The average price of a 10kg carton of frozen chicken – Orobo increased by 44.4 percent to N19,500 as against N13,500 sold last December, while a kilo goes for N2,400.

Further checks show that a 10kg carton of frozen turkey now sells for N23,500 as against N18,500 sold a year ago, showing a 27 percent rise in price.

A carton of ordinary frozen chicken goes for N15,000 while a kilo is sold for about N2,000. A carton of frozen turkey, formerly sold for N11,500 or N12,500, now goes for N23,500, depending on the location.

Also, a 25-litre keg of vegetable oil now goes for N32,000 as against N17,500 last year December, while a 25-litre palm oil now sells for N29,500 as against N17,000 last year.

A big basket of fresh tomatoes now sells for N14,000 as against N13,000 sold last December, while a small basket sells for N7,000 as against N6,500 last year.

A bag of fresh pepper sells for N15,000 as against N6,000 last year.

More so, a 100kg bag of onions now sells for N55,000 in Lagos markets as against N35,000 sold in December last year, indicating a 57 percent rise.

A carton of spaghetti, formerly sold for N4,000, now goes for N8,000 while a pack that was sold for N250 now goes for N350.

A 4- 6kg boiler life-bird sells for N9,000 in Lagos and 7kg sells for N10,000 while old layers sell for N4,000.

The average cost of a 12.5kg cylinder of gas now sells for N9,000 as against N3,700 sold last December, a 143 percent rise in price.

“Every Christmas, I usually buy a bag of rice and a carton of vegetable oil to share with family members and friends. But the prices are way too high now, so I won’t be doing that this year,” Chinyere Chukwu, a 50-year-old teacher and a mother of five who was at Mile 12 Market to make purchases, told BusinessDay.

Ayodele Akinwunmi, senior relationship manager, corporate banking group, FSDH Merchant Bank, says he is not sure consumers had a good year, noting, “Incomes did not grow, inflation was high and as such what consumers could afford last year or two years ago, they are not able to afford again.”

Source: businessday.ng

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