• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Garri, millet, cassava drive food inflation to record high

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The rise in the prices of garri, millet, and yam, dried fish sardines and ‘akpu uncooked fermented’ pushed food inflation to a record high of 40.01 percent in March.

This was revealed in the latest Consumer Price Index report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Others are mudfish dried, palm oil, vegetable oil, beef feet, beef head, liver, coconut, watermelon, Lipton tea and Bournvita, and Milo.

“The rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of the following items garri, millet, akpu uncooked fermented (which are under the bread and cereals class), yam tuber, water yam, dried sardine fish, mudfish dried (under Fish class), palm oil, vegetable oil, beef head, liver among others,” the report said.

The NBS highlighted that food inflation has continued on a steady rise, reaching 40.01 percent in March 2024 on a year-on-year basis, which is 15.56 percent higher compared to 24.45 percent recorded in March 2023 and 37.90 percent recorded in February 2024.

On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in March 2024 was 3.62 percent, which indicates a 0.17 percent decrease compared to 3.79 percent recorded in February 2024.

“The rise in food inflation on a month-on-month basis was caused by a rise in the rate of increase in the average prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, bread and cereals, fish, meat, fruit, coffee, tea, and vegetables,” the NBS said.

Nigeria’s headline inflation rose to 33.2 percent in March from 31.70 percent in February, which is the 15th consecutive monthly increase.

A breakdown of the report shows that food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed the most to the increase in the headline inflation

“Nigeria’s inflationary pressures continue to be driven by the security challenges in food-growing regions, the significant pass-through effect of currency depreciation on consumer prices, infrastructure deficits, elevated energy prices, and logistics challenges,” analysts at FBNQuest analysts said in a note on Tuesday.

“Food prices, which have risen steadily since January 2023, were the main contributor to the elevated headline reading, increasing by 209 basis points to 40.01 percent year on year in March. However, its pace of increase slowed compared with an acceleration of 254 basis points to 37.92 percent year on year in the previous month,” they added.

Kogi State led states with the highest growth in food inflation at 48.46 percent.

Kwara and Akwa Ibom followed with 46.18 percent and 45.18 percent respectively.

Nasarawa State recorded the least growth in food inflation at 33.76 percent. Borno and Bauchi followed with 34.28 percent and 34.38 percent.

Abia State recorded the highest growth in food inflation on a month-on-month basis at 5.17 percent in March. Cross River followed with 5.14 percent, while Bayelsa recorded 4.75 percent.

Borno recorded the least growth in food inflation on a month-on-month basis at 1.59 percent, Yobe recorded 2.08 percent and Adamawa recorded 2.12 percent.

An economic research analyst with the handle @orekelewa said on her social media platform X that for both urban and rural areas, the NBS data suggests a stabilisation and decrease respectively in the rate of price increases.

She said if the current trajectory continues with no external shocks, “we’ll see YoY inflation fall in July. If the FG and sub-nationals can clamp down on price gouging, we can bring it closer to June. It would take a dramatic effort to bring MoM below two percent in the next two months so I have little hope for this month or next month.

“All in all, positive signs. However, it bears repeating that falling inflation doesn’t mean that all prices will necessarily fall, they just rise slower.”