Stem the rising cost of food

Nigeria has been grappling with the persistent challenge of high food prices despite its agrarian nature. This has created a rift between Nigerian manufacturers and consumers, each side holding a different perspective on the underlying causes and potential solutions.

From the producers’ point view the rising cost of food is a complex issue driven by a myriad of factors beyond their control. They argue that the increasing prices of raw materials, transportation, and energy have significantly impacted their operational costs, leaving them with little choice but to pass on these expenses to the consumers.

“The cost of diesel, fertiliser, and other essential inputs has skyrocketed in recent years,” laments Alhaji Musa, a prominent rice distributor in Lagos. “We’re barely making profit, and any attempt to maintain our previous prices would simply put us out of business.”

The producers s also point to the challenges posed by the country’s infrastructure deficit, which has led to significant post-harvest losses and inefficiencies in the supply chain. “Our roads are in disrepair, and the lack of adequate storage facilities means that a significant portion of our produce goes to waste before it reaches the market,” explains Amina, a vegetable farmer in Kano.

On the other hand, consumers, particularly the lower-income segments of the population, are struggling to make ends meet as the prices of basic foodstuffs continue to rise. They argue that the marketers are exploiting the situation and profiteering at the expense of the people.

“It’s unacceptable that the prices of staple foods like garri, rice, and beans have more than doubled in the past year,” laments Fatima, a mother of four in Abuja. “We’re barely able to afford a decent meal. Government needs to step in and regulate these prices.”

The government’s role in this ongoing debate has been a source of contention. Some consumers believe that the government should intervene more actively, either through price controls or subsidies, to ensure that food remains affordable by the people. However, marketers argue that such measures could further disrupt the market and lead to unintended consequences, such as shortages and black market activities.

Resolving this misunderstanding will require a collaborative approach that addresses the root causes of the problem. Investments in infrastructure, modernisation of the agriculture sector, and the implementation of policies that support both producers and consumers could help bridge the gap and ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable and nutritious food.

As the debate continues, it is crucial that both sides approach the issue with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to find common ground. Only then can Nigeria truly overcome the challenge of high food prices and ensure food security for its citizens.

Sulaiman Auwal Marshall,

Kano 

[email protected]