5 Once-Affordable Foods Now Out of Reach for Average Nigerians

Grains and legumes are seen at a market in the Obalende area of Lagos on December 18, 2023. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

Prices for important items in Nigeria have increased significantly in recent years.

President Bola Tinubu’s promise to abolish fuel subsidies during his inauguration on May 29, 2023 added to the complexity of the situation.

The constant rise in the costs of these staple foods, as well as other goods, has diminished Nigerians’ purchasing power, with many struggling to satisfy their daily dietary demands.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported an increase in food inflation to 35.41% in January 2024, up from 33.93% in December 2023. conducted a market survey, which found that food costs have increased in recent months. Here are several essentials that have seen price hikes throughout time.

1. Bread

Bread, a dietary essential made from a mixture of wheat flour and water and then baked, was once considered one of the most economical staples available to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. However, the average wage earner in the country currently cannot buy it.

Bakers across Nigeria have expressed their dissatisfaction, claiming an increase in the cost of baking ingredients over the last year, resulting in the closure of numerous establishments and instability for those that remain open.

Furthermore, the foreign exchange crisis has aggravated the issue by prompting sharp increases in the pricing of commodities such as bread and sugar.

A bag of flour that cost N37,000 a month ago now costs N42,000, and sugar, which used to cost N62,000, has risen to N72,000.

As a result, a loaf of bread that was previously priced at N200 now costs N500, while a family-sized sliced loaf that was once available for N800 now costs N1,200.

2. Garri

Garri, a staple dish strongly embedded in Nigerian culture and widely consumed, is increasingly becoming expensive for the general public due to rising pricing.

What was previously a common dish, especially among low-income earners, has now become a luxury item.

In major city marketplaces, a mudu of white garri, previously priced at N600, now ranges between N1,000 and N1,200, while a mudu of yellow garri, originally available for N500, now ranges between N900 and N1,000.

3. Eggs

The steady climb in prices has turned what was once one of the country’s most affordable protein sources into a luxury item.

Egg prices have recently risen, making them prohibitively expensive for the average Nigerian home.

chicken producers, animal feed processors, and marketers have ascribed the increase in chicken product prices, particularly eggs, to rising costs of major poultry feed ingredients.

A crate of eggs used to cost N3000, but now prices range from N3,800 to N4,000, depending on size.

4. Beans

Beans are one of Africa’s most popular and necessary foods, notably in Nigeria, where they are the fourth most consumed item after cassava, yam, and rice.

Its consumption is strongly encouraged because of its numerous health benefits and nutritional worth, as it is Nigeria’s primary source of protein when compared to other protein-rich foods.

However, bean prices have risen in recent months. In several Nigerian marketplaces, a half-paint of beans, which was formerly priced at N1,250, now costs N2,000.

5. Rice

Rice is one of Nigeria’s most popular staples and important cereals, with a per capita consumption of 32kg.

In recent years, rice prices have risen significantly. According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ “Selected Food Prices Watch for December 2023,” published in January, the average price of 1kg of locally marketed loose rice was N917.93.

A 50kg bag of Nigerian rice is currently priced between N50,000 and N60,000, up significantly from N45,000 in December 2023.

Foreign rice currently sells for N70,000-N80,000, up from the prior price of N65,000.

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