It’s no exaggeration to say that over 80 percent of the foods that Nigerians eat come from flour.
Think about it: spaghetti, sausages, macaroni, and noodles; puff – puff, chin – chin, bread, biscuits, cake, and other flour products that you can think of.
Flour is made from wheat, corn, rice, and other cereals.
With the aid of the latest technology, companies that are in the food industries in Nigeria are making flour products available in various ways.
Flour Mills of Nigeria, De United Foods, and its subsidiary Dufil Prima Foods; Crown Flour Mills, including Chikki Foods, Niger Biscuits, Yale Foods Ltd, A & P Ltd, among others, have seen the potential of flour as a money-spinning investment. These companies are doing well because people must eat.
And this was why when the COVID -19 pandemic broke out in Nigeria, the food industry was granted special recognition by the federal government to continue in operation while other sectors like the steel, cement, pulp, and paper industry, etc, were shut down during the lockdowns.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria said recently that the companies in this sector and others gave N8 billion in cash and N300 million worth of products to help the government to fight the pandemic.
However, in recent months, the prices of this essential commodity, which is an alternative to rice, have skyrocketed and made it very difficult for poor Nigerians to afford it.
This is understandable, given the year-in, year-out high inflation rate in the country at over 18 percent, and the harassing of farmers by bandits across the country.
Further to this, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) recently directed its members nationwide to increase the prices of bread, biscuits, and other baked items by 30 percent over the rising cost of production.
The AMBCN resolution was read by its national president, Mansur Umar, explaining that the adjustment of price was a result of the sudden increase in the cost of production as well as prices of sugar, butter, yeast, and flour.
The association bemoaned the skyrocketing price of regular flour in the last six months with one truck of flour that cost less than N6 million is now N9 million.
We, therefore, urge the government to steps in by partnering with the operators in this industry to bring down the escalating costs of the raw materials and the finished products.
Yes, the flour industry is critical to addressing our food security challenges.