More Nigerians fall below poverty line as food prices soar

Food inflation reached its highest level in 12 years in March 2021 with the average price of food 22.95 per cent more expensive than a year ago. While the rise has slowed in the last six months, headline and food inflation remained significantly high at 16.63 per cent and 19.57 per cent respectively in September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

As prices of goods and services rise across the country, millions struggle daily to buy food with a naira that has fallen 32 per cent between September 2020 and October 2021 at the parallel market.

Nigeria relies on imports to meet domestic demand for key food such as fish, sugar, wheat (used for bread production), and maize and soybeans, vital for poultry feeds.

An average Nigerian household spends about 56 percent of income on food, the highest in the world. Countries like the US, UK, Canada, and Australia spend 6.4 percent, 8.2 percent, 9.1 percent, and 9.8 percent.

Nigeria’s high expenditure on food implies that a slight increase in food prices would push more people into multidimensional poverty.

The Selected Food Price watch for September 2021 released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that while inflation has been trending down in the last few months, prices of foods recorded a significant increase year-on-year.

It was gathered that the food supply disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and insecurity ranging from incessant attacks on farmers have translated to an increase in price across food items in the country.