The price of rice soars to N88,000 as an expert recommends an answer to the food crisis in Nigeria.

The price of rice soars to N88,000 as an expert recommends an answer to the food crisis in Nigeria.

The price of a 50-kg bag of imported rice has climbed to over N88,000 across major supermarkets in Nigeria, which is 22.2% more than the N72,000 reported earlier in the month.In the same line, locally manufactured rice climbed by roughly the same rate (21.8%) to N67,000 in barely less than a month. This information comes from the results of the Nairametrics Research team.

Compared to the same period last year, the price of international rice has climbed by 244%, while domestic rice has suffered a 209% price increase in the same period.During a talk with Mrs. Olanike, a rice trader at Daleko Market in Lagos, she indicated that the recent spike in the price of local rice has been mostly driven by the jump in the price of international rice, which is a result of the diminishing value of the naira and the continued ban on the item.It’s worth mentioning that the exchange rate between the naira and other currencies has depreciated dramatically in recent years, losing nearly 45% and 30% year-to-date at the official and parallel markets, respectively.

Food inflation is at a nearly 18-year high.

ÍRecent inflation statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that food inflation climbed to 35.71% in January 2024, the highest level since August 2005.According to the NBS, food inflation in January was led by rises in the price of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, oil and fat, fish, meat, coffee, tea, and cocoa.

Meanwhile, a further examination showed that imported food inflation climbed to 26.3% from 24.9% reported in the previous month.

This reflects the highest rate observed since January 2012, as FX volatility as well as low agricultural production cause an increase in food costs. Also, GDP data has shown weak development in the Nigerian agricultural sector in the previous two years, impeded by insecurity, the impact of global supply chain concerns on fertilizer and seed supplies, climate change, and floods. Notably, the agricultural industry only expanded by 1.13% in 2023, in contrast to the 1.88% registered in the previous year.


Drivers of food inflation in Nigeria In an exclusive interview with Ibrahim Maigari, the founder and CEO of RiceAfrika, a tech-driven agriculture optimization service provider, he highlighted some of the causes leading to the spike in the price of rice in the nation.

He added that a substantial backlog of unmet food demand in the previous three years as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, insecurity, the Russia-Ukraine war, and floods is the key cause of food inflation in Nigeria.

“The flood in 2022 destroyed about 8.6 million metric tons of 14 varieties of crops in the country,” he added. In addition to the diminishing production of food in the country, the growing cost of transportation caused by the loss of petrol subsidies has influenced the ultimate cost of food.

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“To transport a truck of food items from Maiduguri to Lagos has risen to almost 6 million from less than a million,” he continued. He also noted that the cost of harvesting a piece of farmland has climbed from an average of N90,000 in 2022 to roughly N230,000, a 156% increase in two years. On the solution, Ibrahim Maigari presented a mix of seven tactics to bring down the price of food products and enhance output in the country, which he branded as the Farm Easy Operating System. According to him, a holistic strategy is necessary to solve the issue of food security in Nigeria.

According to Mr. Ibrahim, this strategy demands enhanced land preparation. He said that 80% of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa prepare their grounds manually, which reduces their degree of production.

He also said that access to high-producing seeds will enhance food production in the country, adding that 82% of farmers in the region plant grains rather than genuine seeds, which are less productive. He highlighted the absence of quality chemicals as a key stumbling block in Nigeria’s agricultural operations, which has resulted in many losses for the farmers. He felt that the availability of excellent chemicals in the process of planting and weeding would increase agro-yields in the country. In addition, the timely distribution of fertilizer is crucial to promoting enhanced food production in Nigeria.

The optimal period to give fertilizer to farmers is between March and April, but what we see in most instances is that the farmers receive delivery of these fertilizers around June and July, which is meant to be a time for harvesting.

The others, as noted by Mr. Ibrahim, include optimum agricultural methods, the adoption of mechanized families, and access to markets. Bottom line The problem of food inflation continues to be a huge burden to most Nigerians, who already spend around 55% of their household expenditures on food products.The current trend of high inflation has considerably decreased the buying power of common Nigerians, and the government will require a mix of actions to swiftly solve the food issue in the country.

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