• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Eggs, others missing on Nigerians meal-table as inflation surges

Bukola Balogun found herself rather in an embarrassing and very uncomfortable situation when Tolani, her only child was crying profusely because there was no eggs in her lunch pack.

Elizabeth, her neighbour opposite did not help matters when she began to question the rationale behind her not providing the little girl with eggs for her school meal.

Many Nigerians are experiencing excruciating times in providing the ideal diet for their families as the cost of living continues to surge. A crate of eggs now sells between N3,800 and N4,000 from the farm gate and above N4,500 in retail shops and markets against N3,200 to N3,500 it was sold in May.

Ibikunle Akanji, popularly Mummy Anna lamented the fact that she could no longer serve her family eggs during breakfast even on weekends when they all have morning meals together.

“I stopped buying eggs when I couldn’t afford to even buy half grate because the price was high. We now eat bread without eggs, for over three weeks we have not had eggs on our meal table, and we now eat yam with stew or with red oil only,” she said.

Akanji said that even the cost of other food items is surging. She explained that the cost of food items is eating deep into the family income as she spends more than 100 percent of what she usually would use to prepare a pot of stew now.

Read also: High food prices eat away at Nigerians’ income

“For my stew preparation, tomatoes and pepper are at a very high price, I buy plenty of onions and pepper then use tin tomatoes for stew,” she explained.

Mummy Mercy, a civil servant, a mother of two; and Akanji’s neighbour said she still buys eggs but there are specific days her children eat eggs unlike before when they ate them every day.

“My two kids love eating beans, and now a custard bucket of beans is sold at N10,000 as against N6,000 I bought it the last time. I don’t even know how to go about that as I don’t know what can replace beans on our meal table,” she said.

For Ogunrinde Sandra, a mother of two, said that because of the surging cost of eggs, the children are now forced to share one egg instead of one egg per person.

“My children now share one egg, I cut one egg into two and they make do with that instead of not having eggs at all,” she said.

Experts maintain that eggs are essential in raising a healthy child because eggs provide iodine, iron, quality protein, omega-3 fat, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12.

“Eaten as a high-protein breakfast, they can boost a child’s satiety levels and reduce hunger throughout the busy school day, which can help with concentration and energy levels and reduce the need for extra snacks,” they say.

As a result of the surging inflation, a household with a monthly income of N300,000 in April 2023 would have lost 33.69 percent of its real purchasing power if it earned the same amount in April 2024.

“This means that the same amount of money can now buy significantly fewer goods and services, putting a strain on the household’s budget,” they say.

According to Peterside Dakuku, a former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, “An unprecedented rise in inflation has destroyed households’ disposable incomes and pushed many families into poverty.

Spiraling inflation is having a devastating impact on all, but especially on households in the lower rungs of the working class, who in their millions are joining the already over 133 million multi-dimensionally poor Nigerians struggling to earn a living because high inflation has eroded the value of their income.”

Read also: Nigeria’s inflation woes: A perfect storm of internal and external pressures

As shown by the NBS Consumer Price Index of April 2024, published in May 2024, the headline inflation rate rose to 33.69 percent in April 2024 compared to March. The headline inflation rate was 11.47 percent higher in April 2024 compared to the previous year.

During the same period, inflation in urban areas was higher than in rural areas. Even worse, the food inflation rate in April 2024 was 40.53 percent, increasing by 15.92 percent compared to April 2023. What does this mean for the ordinary citizen? More money can purchase fewer goods and services.

Some of the poultry farmers blamed the increment in the cost of eggs on the surging cost of feeds.

Akinwale Joshua, a poultry farmer at Mowe in Ogun State explained that the cost of feeding the livestock is on the rise beyond what the farmers can bear. He reiterated that the price will continue to go up unless the government intervenes.

“It’s all due to the recent increase in the price of feeds. Feed has gone up by over N1,000 per bag within this last week so, there’s no way any poultry farmer can absorb that sort of increment without passing it on. Even from remote places such as Mowe, and Epe, among others, the farm gate price is now N4,200, and due to go up to N4,500 soon,” he said.

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