Nigerians adapt easily to changes. When the price of food rise, we add a few Naira and buy what we can afford. After all, we love to “cut our coat according to our cloth”. When the price of tomato paste increases, we learn how to cook our famous Nigerian Jollof Rice without tomato paste.
And when the price of onions rises, we remember that some members of our families are allergic to onions. Then, onions disappear from the breakfast omelette.
If there is anything we can learn from economics as a discipline, then we need to know that food has an inelastic demand. This implies that we will continue to demand food despite the rising costs.
We can respond to changes in food price by adopting some self-imposed strategies like reducing the quantity and quality of the food we consume. Economically, we end up spending a good portion of our disposable income on food. Some people have it much worse. They live from hand to mouth.
We need to look beyond the coping mechanisms and fix some structural issues. How do we ensure efficiency in our agricultural systems? How do we start or sustain school feeding programs and other social protection plans? We must stop accepting the rising costs of food as a norm.
Anifat Ibrahim, Research Associate | Project Management Professional (PMP).