May 28, 2023

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A Crave for Food Availability and Quality


CEM FEATURE | It’s a warm night and the amiable cool breeze have chosen to show its stingy side. Gazing through my window, I also guess the stars are part of the plan because I can’t seem to find any out there in the distant sky. No power supply as usual hence the sound of generators are annoyingly sonorous.

Lying on my bed now and writing mood activated! I’ll express what I feel right now and out of the abundance of my thoughts tonight, my fingers will type. So follow me if you can.

Last night I invaded my bed with quite a different force as I expected an inanimate bed not to grumble for I was tired. Then came the flash of how things have suddenly changed in the geographical space we call our country. My tired self wasn’t reluctant to remember how the past years have flown faster than 2ml of methylated spirit. The differences within space was like the actions of unrepentant adrenaline fully armed to cause fear. Fear of what exactly? Insecurity at the two most deadly stage. First, life insecurity, and then Food Insecurity.

As an Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociologist by discipline, my emphasis will be on food insecurity and its negative impact in food processing and prices.

As the saying goes; an hungry man is an angry man. Insecurity caused by terrorism and political vices have directly crippled the knees of food production. The deliberate blind eye turned by those in positions of authority have relegated the expectations of the common Nigerian beyond zero to a minus point on the calibration scale of hope.

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It remains a rude shock that even studies of the “almighty” Land Tenure Systems in the said Nigeria could not foretell that lands would one day quiver in fear to reckless abandon caused by insurgency. Farmers have fled for their lives and the farmlands are dying of loneliness (nobody to tend) and hunger (no crop within). The ones who dared to continue can’t produce as much as we need.

The rocket launching price of diesel & other domestic hydrocarbons is currently taunting food processing by Industries.

Now the wails are louder than the sound of thunder strikes. Food industries have thrown decorum, quality, and production guidelines into the wind. It is either you buy or forget it.

These days, information provided about food products is not always true. An item says 500g but after weighing, you discover it’s 400g. A carton of noodles sometimes come in 39 packs instead of 40 (kidnap?), cornflakes cereals are full of burnt maize that one begins to wonder if the flakes were victims of bomb blast. What is Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) doing? Let me continue on a lighter note by saying sugar is no longer as sweet as it used to be. Infact the list is endless.

These food anomalies and reduction in standard listed above is forever loyal to price hike. As it stands, it is not an aberration to say confidently that food price is currently at war with all Nigerians but the affluent.

I honestly wish we could bring back products like it was in the old days. Nostalgia? Hmm, you are certainly right. It is the old time feelings for me. I mean the good old days when quality occupied the front stage, the “presence” of standard was always felt, affordability was not much of a big deal yet we had it real good.

The value for favourite household commodities was on the highest height especially food items. Blue band butter soft die; with that “heaven inviting” aroma, meat plenty inside Gala (when gala was commander in chief of beef rolls), Banana Ice cream was so creamy (aye mii o), Indomie colour lasan was love at first sight, breads were healthier and more comforting than pillows etc. Chai! We truly got value for our money.

However, the above is not what this generation can relate with. Like I earlier mentioned, quality no longer seem to be important. For instance, the difference between the Blue Band Margarine (my most preferred) of then and now is longer than River Nile (oh why me!). Who will even believe me now?

As for me, I would prefer the old recipe at a higher price to what we currently have in the market.

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