How much is onion in your area?
Recently, there have been so many social media posts about the outrageous prices of onions in different parts of Nigeria. Where I live in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one small bulb of onion is priced at NGN100 right now. The price of onions is so bad in some places that it is affecting the preparation of major delicacies.
On the evening of the 1st of November, 2020, I strolled to the junction to buy suya. I couldn’t understand why the suya seller was wrapping only meat, pepper, and cabbage in the newspaper. He explained to me how the onion had gotten more expensive and harder to find than the meat. Why onions were suddenly so expensive was the only question on my mind. Should we resort to cooking without onions or do we find a way out?
Why is everything happening at the same time? Could the sudden hike in onion price and prices of food in general be a result of the recent events in Nigeria? Can the #ENDSARS protests which led to a backlash of unrest and deaths in the country have a role to play? Is it the farmers? Is it a result of bad policies from our government? Or is it Covid-19?
Here’s what I can tell you here, it’s a lot of things that need to be addressed.
Food inflation is no longer a time bomb, it has already exploded.
According to Nigeria’s National Statistics agency, food inflation was at 16.66% at September 2020. From your experience you may have noticed an even higher spike in October 2020. This is a very unusual trend as you can see below.
Annual trend of food Prices over the last few years Source: opendataforafrica.org
According to the yearly trend of food prices you can see from the graph, food prices usually experience a decline in August till the beginning of the festive season in November when it begins increasing. 2020 is a year different from what we have seen in the past. Examining the timing of the sharp price hike in October, it may appear that the insecurity caused by the backlash against the peaceful #ENDSARS protest could have played a role in hindering food distribution in some parts of Nigeria. But this doesn’t explain why certain food products are expensive even in the states where they are produced.
Onion is a seasonal crop. The reduced availability of onions is being experienced in other parts of the world also and not just Nigeria. But this year appears to be worse because the strict lockdown enforced earlier in the year around the month of April which happened to coincide with the planting season and this hindered farmers from accessing the needed farm inputs to cultivate sufficient food for the population. When this is coupled with the strict policies of the government banning importation of major staple foods, what we have is a hunger bomb in Nigeria that is already exploding.
The summary of the issues leading to the inflated food prices are economic decline in the country, poor transportation and distribution, and insufficient production caused by various events and factors.
The Way Out
From what the trends show, we can expect even more outrageous prices in the coming festive season. Are we going to cook our Christmas rice this year without onions? Or are we going to find a solution to this ever increasing food prices? Farmsby is doing its part to improve agriculture in Nigeria by providing a platform where every interested person can play a role to increase food production by investing in agriculture and earning solid returns on investment up to 75%.
You can also buy and sell your food this festive season at affordable prices at our online market place. Our agriculture e-commerce platform at trade.farmsby.com offers all-round solutions to distribution of food, livestock, agro-inputs, green-housing, consultancy, and many other services. You should take advantage of this easy and seamless means of buying and sell. What is the price of onion in your area? Please share your experiences with us in the comment section.