Thursday, 7th December 2023

‘Cartels, others are major cause of high food price’

By Florence Utor
24 July 2023   |   4:00 am
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (FCCPC), has identified cartels, climate change and traders, among other factors as reasons for food crises in Nigeria.

PHOTO: gettyimages

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Agency (FCCPC), has identified cartels, climate change and traders, among other factors as reasons for food crises in Nigeria.

Speaking during a multi-stakeholders workshop in Lagos, with the theme: “Fair Food Prices in Nigeria: A High-Level Forum for better Competition,” in collaboration with Consumers International, the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, expressed regret that it is the “vulnerable that are exploiting the vulnerable,” simply because some market men and women are not considerate when it comes to pricing.

He noted that the theme is very germane at this period, considering the fact that the president recently declared a state of emergency on food security.

According to him, while it’s a known fact that climate change and the war between Russia and Ukraine has caused serious problem to global food production, factors in the value chain are even a bigger issue.

“For instance, farmers in Nigeria are poor, the consumers are also poor. If the farmers and the end users are poor, then something is actually wrong and that’s why the regulators have to take a drastic action against it.”

Irukera disclosed that they understand the position of the trade associations in Nigeria, which is to promote commerce, stressing that the associations have formed a cartel where in most cases they fix price, though they do not have the legal right to do.

He said though the legislative instruments to checkmate the abnormally exist, but, why they have not been achieving results to that effect could be lack of strategy, which the regulators, with the support of the consumers must achieve.

The Project Specialist, Consumers International, Davine Minayo, said fair food prices is a Consumers International project that’s going on across the continents with objective of knowing what government is doing to protect consumers from exploration.

“Every four years Consumers International’s Global Congress brings together the consumer movement and leading cross-sector influencers to tackle pressing issues impacting consumers worldwide.”

Also speaking at the event, representative of traders association of Nigeria, Ayo Abiola who is the Managing Director of Burke Frazier Consulting Firm Ltd, said “it is a shame that prices of goods are going down across the world, while it’s not the same in Nigeria.

Abiola who was a member of the panel discussion, disagreed that traders are responsible for food crises in Nigeria, adding that, miscreants on the roads, multiple taxations among other factors are responsible for the hike in prices of commodities in the country.

While proffering solutions to the problem, the Executive Director, Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Found (CADEF), Professor Chiso Ndukwe Okafor, said, “One of the ways of solving this problem is turning your backyard to farm so that so many people will be involved in food production.

According to her, “government must create a system that works by improving the educational sector and strengthening synergy between the sector and other institutions.

On her part, the Principal Scientific Officer, FCCPC, Nimatullah Suleiman Braimah, stressed that one of the ways to solve the problem is to do more studies, analyse market pattern with a view of doing away with unfair practice.