Wheat cost rises by 33%

The price of Nigerian grown wheat has risen by 33 per cent due to the low production volumes of the product.

The rise in the cost of wheat may lead to increase in the prices of cakes, bread and other pastries. Wheat is the major raw material for flour used in baking.

It was gathered from the Wheat Growers Association of Nigeria that the projected price of the product was N180,000 per metric tonne at the beginning of the planting season. However, due to the COVID-19 containment measures that affected the harvest process and led to the loss of the product by farmers, the price had increased to N240,000 per metric tonne.

The President of the association, Salim Muhammad, explained that the spread of the coronavirus started during the harvest period of wheat planted by farmers. “We set a price of N180,000 per metric tonne but the market demand raised the price to N240,000 per metric tonne, which the off-takers are not willing to accept,” Muhammad explained.

According to him, the inability of farmers to harvest products on time led to losses. He added that farmers were unable to meet market demand for the product. Muhammad said, “The virus started spreading during our harvest period and it could not allow farmers to have access to their farms due to restriction in movement and lockdown.

“It did not allow the farmers to get the labour they needed because of the social gathering restriction put in place.” He explained that birds, insects and the weather had destroyed some of the ripe wheat that couldn’t be harvested on time. “The farmers who were able to harvest successfully did not have access to market because of the lockdown,” Muhammad said.

He said the association had made projections for 34,000 metric tonnes of wheat based on 11,185 farmers approved by the CBN but unfortunately due to the restricted movement, the group could not ascertain the volume of harvested wheat. Muhammad said from all indications, the hike in price would trickle down to millers, bakers and consumers.

Meanwhile, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers in Lagos State are also complaining of a hike in the rates of baking materials, including flour, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the group, a bag of flour that cost N9,000 before COVID-19 crisis, now goes for N13,000.

The association explained that the instability of foreign exchange, high cost of diesel and other baking materials, were reasons given by flour millers for the hike in the prices of baking materials.

OSA

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