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Foodstuff prices on the increase

Nigerians are in for hard times as prices of foodstuffs have continued to soar in markets across the country.

Saturday Tribune survey indicated that most food items, including beans, rice, maize, garri, yam and yam flour, have been affected by the price hike.

In Kano, the Kano State capital, a module of beans now sells for between N700 and N800. It sold for between N500 and N600 per module a few days ago.

Investigations also revealed that the price of garri, regarded as a common staple food among low income earners, has jumped to between N280 and N300 per module for the brand called garri Ikare, while that of garri Edo now sells for between N200 and N230 per module. Yam flour now goes for between N750 and N800 per module while those mixed with cassava now attracts between N500 and N600 per module.

Although it was discovered that new beans has started arriving the market and attracts between N500 and N600 per module, buyers still prefer old beans on account of quality.

Saturday Tribune gathered from traders that the high cost of foodstuff was as a result of the prevailing security challenges facing some part of the Northern states.

According to them, the situation has prevented many of them to travel to states like Borno and Yobe, as well as Chad and Niger republics, where most of the commodities were available to be purchased.

In Kaduna, Saturday Tribune investigation revealed that the price of foodstuff has also gone up in recent times making the residents, especially low income earners to groan whenever they go to the markets.

At the popular Kawo Market, for instance, a measure of rice which used to be sold at N250 now goes for N300, while beans has gone up from N300 to N400 a measure.

A measure of local maize, which was sold at N80 before, is now N120, while the price of garri has jumped from N120 to N180 a measure.

However, some women expressed hope that with the coming of new yam and other tubers, people would have substitutes and eventually, it would bring the price of foodstuffs down.

In Enugu State, a market survey carried out by Saturday Tribune showed that at Ogbete Market, Enugu, the cost of beans varies, as a bag of Patapsco beans is sold at N35,000 while tomato bag of the commodity is sold at N40,000 and above, depending on one’s bargaining power. These current prices of the commodity are against N30,000 and N35,000 it sold early this year.

In the case of rice, a bag at Ogbete and Gariki markets is sold between N8,000 and N9,300. The most expensive ones are the brands called Mama gold and Tomato rice which are sold at N10, 000 per bag. The locally produced rice is relatively cheap, as a 5kg bag is sold at N6, 000.

Also, some of the foodstuffs sellers, who spoke with Saturday Tribune, confirmed that the crisis in some parts of the North is affecting their business, as some of them were afraid of travelling to the North to buy these commodities.

Madam Nwakaego Eze, a yam seller at Gariki Market, Enugu, said food items ought to be cheap around this time contrary to what is happening now.

“You know the country is no longer the same. Where do you get yam to buy? You have to go to the North, but today the North is not safe for us. So, the yam you see here must be costly. It is not our fault,” she said.

Ogbonna Ugwu, a rice seller at Ogbete Market, Enugu, said the high cost at which he sold the commodity was based on the price he bought it in the market, pointing out that he had to make a little profit in order to survive.

“Many people are no longer buying rice in bags but in cups. How much do you gain? When do you finish your stock? There is problem in this country. No money, no food, people are dying of hunger. Government should do something about it,” he added.

Reports from Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, indicate that market prices of foodstuffs have skyrocketed in Port Harcourt.

A survey has shown that prices of commodities have, at the least, tripled what they were around April this year. This, in effect, has affected how food sells in the various categories of eateries and canteens across the city.

A food vendor, Mrs Margaret John Akpan, said everything is no longer the way she saw them earlier in the year. According to her, the quantity of beans she bought for N400 in April, now sells for between N900 and N1200.

“Foodstuffs have now become very expensive; they are mostly three times the prices they were in the early part of the year.

Beans has been the most expensive. The one I used to buy at N400 in April, is now between N900 and N1200. The same thing applies to yam. For instance, I used to buy a wheelbarrow of yams for N4,000 in the earlier part of the year, but now it has gone up to around N18,000. Rice is easier to get, so, the price increase has not been that much,” she said.

Meanwhile, customers in most of the major markets in Ibadan metropolis have continued to bemoan the increasing cost of staple foodstuffs, especially those brought in from the northern part of the country. Mrs Bunmi Taiwo, who sells foodstuffs, complained that “a bag of beans that use to cost about N14,000 about four months ago, is now N20,000.”

While some attribute the hike in cost of foodstuff to the insecurities in the north, Mr Ajisafe attributes it to the flooding in most of the northern states. “Most of these foodstuffs come in from the north and we all heard of the havoc the rains have caused in these states, especially Sokoto and Jigawa States. Most of the farmlands have been washed away, so those that could save some crops would definitely increase the price to make up for their investment,” he said.

Saturday Tribune findings revealed an increase in the price of groundnut oil, which sold for N5,800 as at early this year, but now goes for N6,850. Also, a bag of rice that went for N7,400 now sells at N8,000.


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