Hardship: Nigerians Turn To ‘Throw-away’ Rice For Food – BBC

by J.J Olawuyi

Many people in northern Nigeria are resorting to rice grains that millers often reject after processing or sell to farmers to feed their fish as a way to combat the region’s persistently growing cost of living.

Because the grains are so hard, cooking and eating them is literally an ordeal. This is why these are known as “battling” in the Hausa language, which is widely spoken in the north.

Isah Hamisu, a worker at a rice mill in the northern city of Kano, told the BBC that “a few years ago, people didn’t care about this type of rice, and we usually threw it away along with the rice hulls, but times have changed.”

The lower cost of afafata has increased its appeal to people and enabled lower-class families to afford to consume one of the nation’s staple foods, even though the grains are broken, unclean, and harsh.

Owner of a fish farm Fatima Abdullahi remarked that although her fish adore it, the cost of afafata has increased because more people are consuming it.
Nigerian prices are rising at the quickest rate in almost thirty years. Inflation has increased in addition to external pressures due to President Bola Tinubu’s removal of the gasoline subsidy and depreciation of the naira.

A typical 50 kg (110 lb) bag of rice used to cost 77,000 naira ($53; £41), enough to feed a family of eight to ten people for almost a month. This is more than 70% more than it was at the middle of the previous year and more than most Nigerians make in a month.

Many are finding it difficult to cope as a result, and protests against the cost of living have occurred in several areas.
Protesters who said they were being smothered by the growing prices blocked roads and carried placards earlier this month in Niger state, central Nigeria.

A few days later, a comparable protest took place in the northwest city of Kano. Following the incident, Governor Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf acknowledged that starvation existed in his state and insisted that a solution needed to be found.

Afafata appears to be the answer for some people at this time.
Based in Kano state, Hajiya Rabi Isah told the BBC that her children would die hungry if it weren’t for this kind of rice because she can’t afford the regular kind.

“Normal rice is 4,000 naira ($2.70) per bowl which is beyond my means, I can only afford afafata which is 2,500 naira ($1.69) now,” she stated. An ordinary Kano household may eat for a day on one bowl of rice from the market.

“Without afafata, feeding my family would be a major issue for me.”
Vendors at markets have also observed a change.

Working at Kano’s Medile market, Saminu Uba reported that his afafata division is experiencing significant growth.

“Most people can no longer afford normal rice and they come for this which is cheaper even though it tastes less good,” he stated to the BBC.

Hashimu Dahiru, one of his clients, acknowledges that people must learn to adjust.

“The cost of goods is concerning—everything has doubled in price in just two months,” he remarked.

“Our wives spend hours removing stones and dirt from the rice before cooking and even then it ends up tasting not nice, but we have to eat to survive.”

As part of its stated efforts to address the problem, the presidency has distributed over 100 tonnes of grains, including rice, millet, and maize, with the aim of mitigating the impact of inflation and bringing down market prices.
However, when he recently claimed that Nigeria still had one of the lowest cost of living in Africa, President’s adviser Bayo Onanuga upset a lot of people.

However, the issue of rice prices rising is not new.
In an effort to encourage more Nigerian farmers to plant the crop, President Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, outlawed the importation of rice; but, local producers have not been able to keep up with demand.

Prior to then, a large number of people could afford the rice that was imported from Thailand in Nigerian marketplaces.
After Mr. Tinubu removed import limits, bringing in rice has become more difficult due to the lack of foreign currency and the declining value of the naira.

You may also like

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin
Verified by MonsterInsights