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Business News of Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Source: guardian.ng

Rising transport, logistics costs compounding Nigeria’s food inflation - Stakeholders

A market in Nigeria A market in Nigeria

Stakeholders in the agribusiness sector have decried the parlous state of infrastructure and high logistics cost, citing them as responsible for high food prices witnessed in the country.

The operators stated that the present soaring food prices will continue because the government has refused to get its priorities right.

President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, while reacting to the latest report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on rising food prices for July 2022, stated that the challenges in the food value chain were yet to be addressed.

According to the latest NBS report, the average price of 1kg of white beans rose by 23.22 per cent from N444.21 in July 2021 to N547.38 in July 2022.

On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 2.09 percent from N536.17 in June 2022 to N547.38 in July 2022.

He said, “Many of the research institutions that would have helped us are underfunded. Look at the roads, farmers can’t even freely move their produce; farmers have to source their own fertiliser because it is now in the hands of the private sector, no more subsidies. So how do you expect the price of food to come down?”

He continued saying, the worst of it all is that more than 50 percent of the foods produced in the country is lost to poor storage. “In addition to that, most of our farmers in the North don’t sell their produce in Nigeria, they take it up North, outside Nigeria because they want to sell in CFA which has more value than our naira,” Ijewere said.

Corroborating Ijwere’s position, National President of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, Dr. Mohammad Tahir Ibrahim said, they are now paying exorbitant rates to transport their goods from the farm to the market.

“Before the current increase in the price of diesel, it was possible to charter a trailer to convey goods from the north to Lagos or South-East or South-South for between N400,000 and N500,000, now the same journey costs over one million naira.

“If only the government can address the issue of bringing down the price of diesel, the price of food will come down. I also know that the Russia-Ukraine war is also a factor, but the major issue is the high cost of transportation”, Ibrahim added.

The NBS report stated also that the average price of 1kg of tomatoes increased on a year-on-year basis by 7.71 per cent from N414.83 in July 2021 to N446.81 in July 2022.

Average price of 1kg beef (boneless) in July 2022 was N2,118.84, an increase of 27.58 per cent from the N1,660.76 recorded in July 2021.

The NBS also stated that the average price of a bottle of groundnut oil stood at N1,078.17 in July 2022, showing an increase of 40.24 per cent from N768.81 in July 2021.

It added that the average price of 1kg of local rice increased on a year-on-year basis by 13.55 per cent from N411.97 in July 2021 to N467.80 in July 2022.

The average price of one bottle of palm oil stood at N890.67 in July 2022, showing an increase of 40.19 per cent from the N635.31 recorded in July 2021.

State-by-State analysis showed that Ebonyi recorded the highest average price of 1kg of white beans in July 2022 at N900.51, while the lowest price was recorded in Borno at N317.73.

The report stated that the highest average price of 1kg of tomato was recorded in Edo at N799.16, while the lowest was recorded in Taraba at N159.14.

Similarly, Rivers recorded the highest price of 1kg of local rice at N619.62, while the lowest was recorded in Jigawa at N363.34.

Analysis by zones showed that the Southeast recorded the highest average price of brown beans at N853.19 per kilogramme, followed by the Southwest at N598.00, while the Northeast recorded the least at N379.03.

The Southeast recorded the highest average price of tomato at N678.80, per kilogramme, followed by the Northwest at N656.93, while the lowest was recorded in the Northeast at N194.72.

The NBS stated that the average price of 1kg of local rice in the Northwest was N796.03, representing the highest recorded in July 2022, followed by the Southwest at N519.64.

The North Central recorded the lowest price for 1kg of local rice at N401.72, the NBS stated.