As Nigerians continue to grapple with a record rise in inflation, one sector that is worst hit is the Professional Food Service industry because of the peculiarity of their jobs. In an atmosphere of frustration and despair, members of the Association of Professional Food Service Providers of Nigeria (APFSPN) led by its Chairperson, Mrs. Monioluwaninugbogbo Osho held a Press briefing in Ikeja, Lagos State to express their frustrations about the incessant hike in food items and Logistic cost associated with their businesses.
Speaking at the Press briefing, the Vice -Chairman, of the Board of Trustees of APFSPN, Mrs. Morenike Okupe, who is also the CEO of MALAS Foods, stated that members of the Association are responsible citizens who are also taxpayers but are currently suffering because of the incessant hike in the prices of food items in the country. She appealed to all the Federal and Lagos State Governments to intervene for them to continue to deliver value for their esteemed customers.
In her speech, the Chairperson of the Association Mrs. Monioluwaninugbogbo Osho, who is also the Managing Director, Simply She Catering and Euclid Florals and Events, appealed to the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to come to their aid as there is food scarcity in the land. She advocated the establishment of regional farms to complement the food items brought into Lagos State from the Northern part of the country. Speaking during a question and answer session, she reeled out plans of the Association to include establishing Farmlands, housing Estates, and a Micro Finance Bank.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of MMB Caterers, Mrs Mubo Adegoke painted a frightening picture of the situation on the ground. She decried the current scarcity of chicken and the skyrocketing price of vegetable oil noting that prices of food items keep changing several times within a day in the market. At the Press Briefing, members displayed different placards with various inscriptions such as: “NO RICE, NO OIL, NO CHICKEN, HMMM, I TIRE O’’ ‘FOOD PRICES, NA DIAMOND NOW, SAVE US O” “SOS FOOD HANDLERS ARE GETTING BROKE, NO THANKS TO INFLATION” “TRYING NOT TO GET OUT OF BUSINESS. TRYING SO HARD TO SURVIVE. PLEASE HELP US”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index Report for October 2023 released in November 2023 (page 13) “The Food inflation rate in October 2023 was 31.52% on a year-on-year basis, which was 7.80% points higher compared to the rate recorded in October 2022 (23.72%). The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Oil and fat, Potatoes, Yam and other Tubers, Fish, Fruit, Meat, Vegetables, Milk, Cheese, and Eggs.’’ The report reads.
Members of the Association who spoke at the Press briefing unanimously agreed that one of the ways to tackle and resolve this issue is for all stakeholders to lend their voices and engage both the Federal and State Governments especially the Lagos State Government, where the majority of the member operate from, to come to rescue the Food sector from imminent crisis.