A group, Women Advocacy for Sustainable Development and Growth (WASDG), an NGO, on Wednesday called on the Federal and State Governments to urgently address the COVID-19-induced soaring food prices being experienced across the country.
Mrs Folashade Adeyemi, the group’s Chief Executive Officer, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Adeyemi said the noticeable increase in prices of some food items and cooking ingredients occasioned by various preventive measures to curtail COVID-19 spread was a source of concern to the organisation.
According to her, the development which has drastically reduced the purchasing powers of Nigerians, can lead to unimaginable negative implications for the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry, if not checked.
Adeyemi said the call for such intervention was based on a recent in-depth research finding made to various markets by the organisation in order to be abreast of the present prices of consumable items.
She listed items worst hit by the sudden increase in prices as rice, beans, semolina, garri, yam flour and other cooking ingredients like groundnut oil, tomatoes and pepper.
Adeyemi disclosed that the reports of the research revealed that the increase in the number of post COVID-19 food losses was one of the key factors responsible for the surge in food prices across the country.
“With the post COVID-19 harvest losses due to persistent lockdown and other measures, farmers and traders are compelled to shift the cost to the final consumers.
“This quite explained the noticeable 50 to 100 per cent sudden increase in prices of some food items across major markets visited by our team, especially in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
“Going by the report at our disposal on the development, particularly across markets in Ado-Ekiti it was revealed that a bag of beans now sells for N17,000 instead of the old price of N15,000, while a big plastic cup of the item now cost N350 from N300.
A bag of local rice which hitherto sells for N20,000 had increased to N22,000 depending on the brand and a big plastic cup is now N700 from N500.
The price of 25 litres of goundnut oil has risen to between N14,000 and N14,500 from N12,500 and N13,500, respectively.
Adeyemi underscored the need for government at all tiers to substantially increase funding for agricultural practices in order to boost production, yield and income.
She also called for specific assistance for farmers dealing in perishable items to ensure adequate storage of their produce amidst the COVID-19 lockdown and other preventive measures.
Adeyemi said the organisation had distributed food items to orphanages and other vulnerable groups in efforts to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The WASDG boss also called for workable strategic plans toward reviving the nation’s economy away from post COVID-19 imminent recession regime. (NAN)