The coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Nigeria’s economy, with farmers and food processors taking some of the heaviest losses.
In this exclusive report, Damilola Ayomide documents plight Nigerians — both sellers and buyers — as the country battles COVID-19 effects on the economy
“We stopped buying our ingredients (cornflour and yeast) – especially corn flour – at the usual price during the lockdown. We somehow expected this to happen, considering that the manufacturers would have only little stock left as workers were mandated to stay at home. Even the price of nylon for packaging the bread became high,” says the bakery owner of Demmie’s Dough at Maryland area of Lagos State.
The flour industry inevitably suffered a big hit as workers complied with the lockdown directive. The little stock left before the lockdown took effect had to be distributed but not at the same price anymore.
According to Demmie’s Dough bakery owner who does not want her name on print, the increase in the cost price of ingredients for making bread would later affect her retail price before the ease of the first lockdown.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, her biggest loaf was N350. During the lockdown, she had to increase it to N400. Her profit margin also reduced by 50%.
When asked how her patrons reacted to the sudden increase, she said: “Initially, they stopped buying from us. But when they went out to see that the price of bread had increased everywhere, they came back to buy from us, knowing fully well that we don’t compromise on our quality no matter what.”
However, they are looking at increasing the retail price even more in order that they might maximise profits. “At the end of the day, it’s business and we have to make profits. Although we are putting our patrons into consideration, we would also like to return to our 100% profit and with the way ingredients are becoming more expensive, I’m afraid we will have to increase the price of our bread even more.”