Aisha Ibrahim, a Kano-based fashion designer, is struggling with stagnant earnings and dwindling fabric sales. She is being squeezed by the ever-increasing prices of food, leading her to cut down on the amount she can use to put food on her family’s table.
“I am really feeling the heat,” said Ms Ibrahim, a widow and mother of three. “I can’t simply afford the basic things we use at home in terms of food,” she said, adding, “The prices of everything have increased. I have had to cut down on meat, eggs, and other proteins.”
Ms Ibrahim’s ordeal is being shared by millions across Africa’s most populous nation as rising food prices mount on Nigerians amidst poor purchasing power.
Data compiled by Picodi, an international e-commerce organisation shows that the average Nigerian household spends about 59 per cent of its income on food. That’s the highest in the world, according to the report published in August.
Picodi researchers analysed statistical data from 105 countries and calculated how much money people spend on their groceries worldwide. Nigeria ranked 105th out of 105 countries.
The report said food and non-alcoholic beverages make up 59 per cent of Nigerian’s spending on goods and services.
Nigeria’s situation is worse than other countries with high spending on food such as Bangladesh (52.7 per cent), Kenya (56.1 per cent), Myanmar (56.6 per cent), and Laos (50.6 per cent).
In contrast, residents in the US, Singapore, UK, Ireland, and Switzerland spend less than a tenth of their income on food and non-alcoholic beverages. The US is 6.7 per cent, Singapore – 8.4 per cent, the UK – 8.7 per cent, Ireland – 9.2 per cent and Switzerland – 9.9 per cent, the report said.
Nigeria’s inflation has remained at double digits since 2016, with a significant impact on household spending, even as governments across states struggle with backlogs of salaries and pensions.
Equally, the nation’s food inflation increased to 24 per cent in July, compounding the misery of many households. Nigeria’s situation is so dire that President Bola Tinubu recently declared a state of emergency on food insecurity.
How much is spent on food in Africa
The highest food spending in Africa can be found in Egypt ($114/month), followed by South Africa ($77/month) and Kenya ($74/month), Picodi said.
It noted that an average Nigerian spends $62 (₦48,186) monthly on food. This amount is higher than Nigeria’s minimum wage of N30,000.
The lowest grocery spending can be found in Algeria ($51/month), Cameroon, ($45/month), Uganda ($24/month), Ethiopia ($20/month), and Tanzania ($15/month).
The researchers said they used the latest household food and non-alcoholic beverages consumption statistics from Euromonitor and official government websites.
For currency conversion, the organisation used the average exchange rate data from Google Finance for July 2023.
The last NBS report published in 2020 shows that Nigerians spent about N22.8 trillion on food in 2019. This was about 57 per cent of the total spending (N40.2 trillion) by Nigerians for that period.