Locally-produced foods now more expensive than imported ones – Nairametrics Survey

Across the local food markets in Lagos, there is a noticeable fall in the prices of foreign-produced foods or foods with foreign raw materials, while the prices of locally produced foods continue to rise.

This is based on a survey conducted by NewsTimes across major food markets in Lagos. The survey was for a period of one month covering the first week of March and second week of April (April 11th).

A bag of foreign rice in Igando Market, which sold for N88,000 two weeks ago, now sells for N78,000. In Iyana Ipaja Market, the same bag of rice was sold at N90,000 three weeks ago, but was down to N79,000 on April 11.

A box of super pack Indomie, which was N9,000 in December sold for N17,000 in March, but had fallen to N13,800 as of April 11.

The same trend is noticeable in supermarkets, where foods such as canned beans, stringed beans flour and a number of other food items are seeing noticeable drop in prices.

On the other hand, a paint bucket of garri, which sold at N2,500 three weeks ago at Igando Market, sold for N3,400 as of April 11. Although the transaction practice for yams in Nigeria is not measured on scales, several consumers of yam testify that the size of yam that sold at N2,500 a month ago now sells at N3,500.

Several persons who spoke with NewsTimes in Oyingbo Market, Orile Market, and Iyana Iba Market said depending on the quantity one is purchasing, the prices of beans have risen by between N300 and N500 over the past month.

Although produced with some foreign raw materials such as wheat, the prices of bread have also increased over the past month by at least N200.

What traders are saying

A wholesale rice seller, Rita Ogbuebu, ascribed the fall in the price of foreign rice to the rise in the value of the local currency. She said with the rise in the value of the naira, importers of foreign rice are buying rice cheaper in naira terms from neighbouring countries such as The Republic of Benin.

“We are expecting the prices of rice to fall even further as the naira value increases,” she said.

Janet Ogbuefuna, a shop owner in Ogba, Lagos, agrees. She said the price of Indomie has been falling over the past one month from N18,000 to N13,000 as of April 11. A manager in a popular noodles plant said some of the prices of some of the foreign inputs of noodles have fallen over the last one month, which explains the falling prices of noodles in the market.

As to why the prices of locally-produced foodstuff continue to rise, Sola Akhomolafe, an agronomist, blamed the development on the increasing insecurity in the country that prevents farmers from having access to their farms. He also blamed it on the high cost of transportation in conveying agriculture products from farm to market.

  • “This is coupled with an acute lack of storage facilities around the country. 60% of Nigeria’s post-harvest food products go to waste because of the lack of storage facilities,” he stated.

On the other hand, the chief executive of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (PPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf, told NewsTimes that part of the reasons for the high cost of locally-produced agriculture products is seasonality. He noted that most of Nigeria’s agriculture production is tied to the rains. He said the rainy season is just setting in.

  • “We are in the planting season right now. Usually, the prices of food products fall during harvest season. This is coupled with the fact that we don’t have adequate storage facilities in Nigeria. So the country’s stock of food depends on seasonality,” he said.

Referring to the rapid adjustment of food prices in the manufacturing sector, such as Indomie, Dr. Yusuf noted that manufacturing companies are better equipped to respond to changing agricultural value chain circumstances.

A wholesale yams dealer, who identified himself as Alhaji, on his part, blamed the rising cost of locally-produced food on the high cost of transportation. He stressed that there are thousands of illegal tax collectors strewn on the country’s highways that extort money from transporters. “In the end, the end consumers must bear the final cost of food products,” he stated.

Sani, a cattle dealer, expressed a similar sentiment to NewsTimes. He said from Yobe State to Lagos, he sometimes parts with more than N500,000 to illegal tax collectors on the highways before getting to his destination.

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