Insecurity, multiple taxations, others responsible for high prices of food – CADEF

A non- governmental organization Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (CADEF), farmers, and other stakeholders have identified insecurity, middlemen, multiple and illegal taxations amongst others as reasons for high prices of food in Nigeria.
Executive Director of CADEF Professor Chiso Ndukwe Okafor while briefing journalists after meeting with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), other agencies and stakeholders.

According to her, CADEF in partnership with Consumer International embarked on data collection in six states on food prices to ascertain the major causes of high food prices.

“Recently, we had a high-level meeting with the FCCPC and other relevant agencies, including NGOs, and the conversation was around what is going on in Nigeria regarding food and what we are going to do about it and it needs to be done right away.

“Consumer International is an international agency that has partnered with CADEF on fair food prices. They told us to assist them in collecting data on food prices.

“We were able to look into 14 commodities that are produced in Nigeria in Edo, Kano, Benue, Abuja, Lagos, and Enugu states. We collected data from the six states for October, November, December, January, February, and March.

“We collected the data in real-time three times a month and uploaded them in a tool created by Consumer International in partnership with other agencies. The data was collected along the value chain, from farm to middlemen to retailers,”, Professor Okafor said.

“Yesterday, we were able to present some of our findings, and we found out that in some cases, there was over a 100% price difference between the farmgate and the retail gate within a couple of days.

“We went into the areas and collected data on the ground, the enumerators went on the ground, that is why they uploaded their data while they were there.

“During the conversation, the farmers’ groups that were there talked about the insecurity. Farmers are no longer able to go to their farms and markets because of security challenges.

“Another issue the farmers raised is the issue of middlemen. Because the farmers didn’t know the prices of goods in the market, the middleman could quote them a price, which they would accept.

“Sometimes, the middlemen buy up all the farm produce on credit, go and seek, then come back and give them a smaller amount.

“Another issue is transportation and logistics because some of these products are perishable. Farmers want to sell so that they don’t waste. So, the transportation cost is very high for farmers and not stable.

“The transporters also complained about multiple taxes on the highway. The local touts, the local governments, and the security forces are collecting ‘taxes’ from the transporters. Different taxing agencies continue collecting taxes from transporters. A four-hour journey can end in 24 hours due to bad roads and no storage facilities.

“Then in the market, the market associations, and other associations, we tell the sellers what they can bring in and how much they will sell their products,” she explained.