In May 2023, the prices of essential food items such as beef, rice, yam, and tomatoes witnessed significant surges in Nigeria, contributing to accelerating inflation, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the data, Nigerians paid an average of N2,520.52 for 1kg of beef, marking a staggering 24.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022, when the price was N2,029.59. On a month-on-month basis, the average price of 1kg of beef rose by one percent to N2,520.52 in May 2023 from N2,495.69 in April 2023.

Similarly, the average price of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, surged by 24.06% year-on-year, reaching N555.18 in May 2023 from N447.51 in May 2022. Additionally, the average price of 1kg of local rice increased by 1.54% from N546.76 in April 2023.

Yam, another common staple, experienced a 22.84% year-on-year increase, with an average price of N457.25 in May 2023 compared to N372.23 in May 2022. On a month-on-month basis, yam prices went up by 2.83% from N444.69 in April 2023.

Likewise, the average price of 1kg of tomatoes rose by 17.68% year-on-year, reaching N498.34 in May 2023 from N423.48 in May 2022. On a month-on-month basis, the average price of tomatoes increased by 2.73% in May 2023.

Analyzing state profiles, Imo state recorded the highest average price for 1kg of beef at N3,475.04, while Kogi state had the lowest at N1,790.14. In terms of the average price of 1kg of local rice, Ondo recorded the highest price at N724.81, with Jigawa having the least at N369.09. For yam, Akwa Ibom recorded the highest average price at N924.17, while Benue had the lowest at N214.79. As for tomatoes, Edo State had the highest average price at N957.95, and Kogi State had the lowest at N215.43.

The surge in food prices has implications beyond the grocery bills. Inflation has outpaced salary and wage growth, eroding the real value of wages for employees. This trend has further intensified the issue of extreme poverty, with over 105 million Nigerians still living in poverty, according to data from the World Poverty Clock of the Brookings Institute. The World Bank recently highlighted that Nigeria’s accelerating inflation pushed an additional four million Nigerians into poverty during the first five months of 2023.

The situation calls for measures to address the rising food prices and curb inflation to alleviate the burden on Nigerian households and promote economic stability.