• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Nigerians shift to spaghetti as price of local rice spikes


Before the closure of the Nigerian borders, Felicia Otti, a housewife and a mother of four used to consume foreign rice with her family on daily basis.

Two months after the barricade, foreign rice has become inaccessible because it is expensive to purchase, making her and the family to opt for the locally produced rice.

A torrent of demand for local rice means the price has skyrocketed, which has forced Otti and her household to swoop on spaghetti, a popular pasta food among Nigerians.

This is the tread that most Nigerian consumers are currently following now. The closure of the border by the federal government to prevent the country from being a dumping ground for imported products and to also boost patronage of locally made products has led the prices of local products like rice to increase.

A survey at Daleko market, the biggest rice market in Lagos, shows that a 50kg bag of local brands from integrated rice millers such as Mama Pride, Umza Classic, Mama Choice, Lake Rice, Three Brothers, Al-Hamsad, among others now sells for average of N19,500 as against N24,000 sold a month ago, indicating a 19 percent drop in prices. Before the closure of the border, it was sold at a price of N13, 500-N14, 000.

Over the weekend, BusinessDay paid a visit to major retail stores like Spar, Hubmart and the rest around Ikeja, Lagos state and from its finding, discovered that demand had increased for spaghetti but prices remained unchanged.

A top official at Spar said, “People are purchasing more of spaghetti to rice now. The demand for spaghetti and macaroni are increasing. For us, demand has approximately increased by 10 percent. Although, it is still the same price, we have not increased it yet.”

According to Akin Akanni, the supervising manager at Hubmart, for them, the demand for indomie because it is still in the pasta family. “Indomie demand has raised by almost 12 percent,” says Akanni.

For example, a cartoon of 20g chicken flavour indomie cost N2,000, a 500g cartoon of Golden Penny pasta containing 20 pieces costs N3,500 and a 450g Power pasta spaghetti costs also having 20 pieces costs N2,950.

Abiola Gbemisola, Consumer analyst at Lagos-based Chapel Hill Denham said that the fact that consumer are switching to spaghetti shows that they see it as an available substitute to rice.

“I would expect that these switches are also towards other pasta products like Macaroni and the likes. This will then lead to increases in the prices of pasta related products at retail and wholesale markets. It is however positive for pasta manufacturers as they would earn higher revenues (prior to now, they could not increase prices due to high competition),” Gbemisola further said.

Spaghetti and rice are both a source of carbohydrates to the human body and are also staple foods. Spaghetti is one of the most popular forms of pasta and it is used in dishes all around the world. Most spaghetti is made from durum wheat, so it is high in complex carbohydrates and includes all the nutrients found in refined white flour.

“I think it is true because during a conference call with one of the companies that I analysis, they said that they were expecting more demand for spaghatti because it is cheaper than rice. Besides, both foods achieve the same function to the body at the end of the day,” Eronmosele Aziba, Consumer analyst, Tellimer Group, said.