Farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector have projected that the high cost of food in most parts of the country will begin to drop in few months time.
Farmers under the aegis of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, as well as those of the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, stated that going by the harvesting of various crops, the cost of some food items would soon fall.
They told our correspondent in separate interviews that the current high cost of agro-produce was because the volume of farm commodities stored in warehouses were dwindling, among other reasons.
The National Bureau of Statistics confirmed the high cost of food in its recent Selected Food Prices Watch report.
It stated, for instance, that the price of rice appreciated in September 2020. This cost further increased in the succeeding month, based on findings from marketers and agro-dealers.
“The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) increased year-on-year by 39.07 per cent and month-on-month by 2.87 per cent to N516.13 in September 2020 from N501.71 in August 2020,” the bureau stated.
But farmers and other operators in the industry expressed optimism that the cost of the food would drop in about two months time.
The National President, AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, told our correspondent that food prices would crash, adding that some locations across the country had started witnessing the drop in food prices.
He said, “We know that prices will come down and in some places, the cost of food is gradually reducing, particularly in interior or remote locations where harvesting has commenced.
“I know that for maize, for instance, the price for a sack as is usually measured used to be between N17,000 and N20,000 but it is now going for about N15,000 in some locations.”
Ibrahim added, “The price of rice is still high because farmers are harvesting now and have a lot of paddy. But the price is gradually coming down, especially in places far away from major city centres.”
Also speaking on a possible price crash in the cost of food items, the Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, a body of industry experts and operators, Emmanuel Ijewere, said agro-produce stored in warehouses were depleting.
He said this had also contributed to the high cost of food items across the country, but was quick to state that in few months the prices of food would drop.
Ijewere said, “At this time of the year, food prices are usually higher because we are approaching the stage of harvesting and the reserves stored in the previous year are dwindling.
“So you have this happening annually. However, in a few months time the prices of a lot of food items will be going down.”
On his part, the President, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Segun Adewumi, also admitted that food prices were on the high side in most cities and villages.
“We are seeing some meaningful interventions by government, particularly through the Central Bank of Nigeria and based on this, we can project that the cost of food items will start coming down in one or two months time,” he said.
Adewumi stated that interventions by the CBN in the rice, cassava and other value chains would in no doubt help address the rising prices of food across the country.