Why is bread getting so expensive in Nigeria?
Expensive bread. Source: Stears

If there’s one food item Nigerians love, it’s bread. Rice is a close second, but bread is our first love.  Personally, I can have bread three times a week (preferably toasted) with a cup of coffee.
 

Key takeaways:

  • Bread is a widely consumed staple in Nigeria. But like other commodities, the price has been increasing, and according to the NBS, the average national cost of bread (sliced and unsliced) is up 35% compared to last year. 

  • Bread is obtained from wheat, which Nigeria bags the title of the second-largest global importer. And with the international price of wheat rising (currently up 42% to over $1,000 per bushel) due to the lingering Russian-Ukraine war, the domestic price of bread could increase further. 

  • But the Russian-Ukraine war is not all to blame for Nigeria’s rising bread price problem. Other significant domestic factors like forex illiquidity that feed into import costs, the type of wheat we grow here and the rising cost of different input materials (butter, sugar, yeast) and running costs (diesel, cooking gas) for bakers contribute to the increasing price of bread.

 

Bread just ticks all our food boxes—it’s delicious, can be eaten anytime and with (almost) anything, and best of all, it’s relatively cheap. For Nigerians battling ridiculously high food prices, bread is the ultimate comfort food for our bellies and wallets. If you don't believe me, visit the bread aisle at Shoprite in Ikeja or Grandsquare in Victoria Island on a Friday evening, the long queues will swiftly convince you.

However, even bread isn’t exempt from Nigeria’s inflation problem—bread prices have risen. Currently, the supermarket price of bread is up by 58% from ₦500 at the beginning of the year to about ₦800 per loaf. Even “agege bread” prices have increased from  ₦100 to ₦150 per loaf. You can’t even find a loaf of bread for ₦50 anymore.

While the Russia-Ukraine war is the primary reason for the bread price hike, other factors along the value chain have also affected prices. You see, bread starts as wheat

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Dumebi Oluwole

Dumebi Oluwole

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