Grace Obike
Grace Obike

How Russia's invasion is affecting Nigeria's taste for bread

Fresh bread at a bakery in Abuja
Fresh bread at a bakery in Abuja

Abuja, Nigeria. Civil servant and Father of three, Ahmed John had a routine he adhered to for years. Every evening while coming back from work, he would stop by bread vendors and buy a loaf of bread that his family would use for breakfast the next morning, it was an errand he enjoyed running because he knew how much his children enjoyed having tea for breakfast and the possibility of walking into his house with a loaf meant his children would be excited about their meal.

Unfortunately, his routine has changed in the past few months as he can no longer afford the daily loaf on a salary that can bearly take the family through the month.
"The truth is that I can no longer afford to buy bread as often as I did, now I only buy a loaf ones a month because it is now too expensive. The same loaf that I used to buy for N250 in a little over two years ago is now being sold for at least N750 ($1)."

Why the rise

For a country with a minimum wage of N30,000, about $41 a month, the country is battling with soaring food prices and high inflation.
The average prices of food items like bread and rice in Nigeria has been recording significant increases in the past five years, according to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
A year-on-year analysis of the average prices from January 2017 to January 2022 shows that bread (unsliced, 500g) and rice (agric-sold loose rice) recorded 42 per cent and 48 per cent price hikes, respectively.
Nigeria's food inflation rate was 23.72% in October 2022, from 23.34% in September 2022, while the country's inflation rate jumped from 20.77% in September 2022 to 21.09[1] % in October 2022 as
According to the Bureau, the rising inflate rate was caused by importation costs, high energy costs, and surging food prices among others.
For a country with 92 million hectares of land, out of which 82 million hectares is arable, Between 2016 and 2021, Nigeria spent a total of N6.47 trillion to import agricultural products like wheat, sugar, fish, milk, and others according to Dataphyte’s latest research.
Amid the attacks on Ukraine, Nigeria increased its imports from Russia by 143.21 per cent, according to the foreign trade report of the National Bureau of Statistics for the second quarter of 2022.
Conversely, Nigeria's imports from Ukraine in 2021 totalled $604.29 million, about a quarter that of Russia. The major imports were cereals ($491.90 million), iron and steel ($90.73 million), milling products, malt, starches and wheat gluten ($5.62 million) amongst others.
Worldwide, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a ripple effect on global food prices but the case is worst in countries like Nigeria, especially in terms of its love for bread.
Wheat used in baking bread in Nigeria is imported from Russia and Ukraine. It is not only the price of wheat that has increased in the last couple of months due to the war in Eastern Europe. The price of milk, also imported from Ukraine and Russia, has increased.

Bread hawker
Bread hawker

How are Nigerians coping

For families like Ahmed John, the blame on the soaring price of bread lies solely on bakery owners who they feel have continued to increase the price of bread without consideration for the common man but bread owners in the country disagree.
In July this year, Bread bakers and Caterers of Nigeria embarked on a strike over the rising prices of baking materials.
President Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onuorah lamented that operating a bakery in Nigeria has become almost impossible due to incessant hikes in the prices of baking materials and diesel which have unleashed adverse effects on them.
He said the incessant increase in the price of baking materials, Federal Government’s 15 per cent wheat development levy on wheat import, the inability of its members to access grants and soft loans being given by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises and multi-agencies regulation of the bread-making industry where reasons for the strike.
In a break down of the price hike in baking materials, General Manager Nexter bakery, Peace Izeduwa said people blame them for the increase in the price of bread but do not understand, "The consumers do not understand that it not our fault because what we buy determines what we sell."
She said before now, a bag of flour used to be less than N10,000 but as at today, a bag is about N30,000 ($41) and that has made the cost of the bread to increase.
Izeduwa explained, bakers have been Increasing the price consistently for over a year because the cost of flour and its hike also led to the increase of other products like butter, milk, sugar and others.
She added, "This has affected production, our production has dropped. Before now, we exhust 150 bags of flour daily but now it has reduced to 100 or 110. So our production has reduced by 20% to 30[2] %."

People buying grains in an Abuja market
People buying grains in an Abuja market
Nice to meet you

Contact us:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Powered by Kagin's consulting
Designed by MI design