- Despite continuous lamentations of Nigerians and traders, the prices of some basic food items have crashed in various market across the country
- A survey conducted by Legit.ng at Sabo Ayangburen market, Ikorodu, Lagos, reveals the reduction in the price of rice, beans, garri and a fluctuation in the price of perishable goods
- At the market, traders’ attributes this to the availability of the items, reduction in demand occasioned by the drop in the purchasing power of the buyers
Prices of some basic food items in various markets across the country crashed after Nigeria’s independence anniversary.
According to findings by Legit.ng at Sabo Ayangburen market, Ikorodu, Lagos, the prices of goods like rice, beans, yam, garri, and some other perishable items have become available and affordable.
This good news as described by many, was the result of the sustainable focus on agricultural development by the present administration, that has led to the availability of some goods in various market across the country.
The recent change in prices, was as a result of the persistent efforts by the government to promote its local produce, this was achieved by strengthening the naira in forex market in other to permanently tackle food insecurity in Nigeria.
The effort according to traders had contributed to increment in food production which has resulted to reduction in prices of basic food items.
It was discovered that the prices of some food items have witnessed a relative reduction as a result of its availability.
At the market, traders’ were seen attending to few buyers’ patronizing them but still, others lament that the insurgency in the northern part of the country affects the price availability of other major food items in the country.
Kenneth, a trader who sells food items in the market, while commenting on the reduction in prices, opined that the goods have witnessed a reduction in prices due to the availability of the items in major markets across the country.
He said: "The prices of goods crashed just few days before and after independence day celebration. This reduction often occurs when demand is low and supply is high. We all know that the country’s economy is in a recess and buyers who come to patronize us overtime, complain of the increment in some goods and the fluctuating price of others, this then reflected in the current price of goods in the market as a result of adjustment made by the manufacturing firm, the wholesalers’ and even farmers, not leaving out the sellers too.
“Right now, we were informed by some distributors lately that rice is scarce, for reasons unknown to us. But a bag of rice is affordable compare to its price in previous months. You can get a bag of rice from N13,000 upwards. But some traders’ sell at an increased price due to the location of purchase and amount. A bag of rice (Aroso) can be purchased from N15,500 while a bag of rice (Agric) can be purchased from N15,000 downwards. The price varies depending on the brand and market location.
“Garri have also witnessed a reduction in price. Buyers now purchase a paint bucket of garri for N360 against the old price of N500 and N800 in few months back. While a bag of garri (White) goes for N6,500 and a bag of garri (Yellow) goes for N7,500.
“The price of beans is not stable, it fluctuates. And the reason why we have unstable price of beans in the country is due to the insurgence in the northern part of the country, because the goods come majorly from Northern states. A bag of beans (Oloyin) cost N22,000. A bag of beans (Oloone) cost N18,000 (Small bag) and a big bag of beans (Olotu) cost N46,000. The size of the bags and the quantity influenced their prices.”
It was gathered that while the prices of some goods have reduced others have soared. Perishable goods like fish keep rising according to traders due to the cost of importation while tomatoes, fruits, dry pepper and crayfish among other staple foods have reduced a bit.
Iya Moyo, a trader who sells fish said: “We have three sizes of fish. The big size fish, the medium size and the small size fish. The sizes differ by the size of the carton and the quantity in the carton. A carton of Titus fish (Big size) that sells for N28,000 in previous weeks now goes for N25,000 while a carton of Kote cost N13,000 and a carton of Panla cost about N9,000-N12,000. This was due to the fall in the exchange rate, because we buy from neighbouring countries.”
It was also learnt that the prices of some food items have remained stable while others have reduced. For fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, orange, water melon, Guava and Tangerine have been relatively cheap while imported fruits are still expensive.
A large number of traders at the market expressed joy over the positive development but are still amazed at the low turnout of buyers despite the reduction in prices, adding that they can only sell according to the cost price.
A meat seller, Mr Rahman, says the buyers’ response this period has been encouraging unlike the previous months when they sit idly by their stalls. The turnout has been positive.
“When our customers come to patronize us, they buy according to their purse. But the beauty in the reduction of the prices of goods now is that; the cost of purchase is lower now than when it was higher in previous months.
“We as traders always pray for the affordability and the availability of the goods we offer for sale. The reduction in the prices of the meat we buy now has led to a rise in demand by our customers. Although, some customers still come to buy in large quantity and others still crave for a higher reduction in the price of goods,” he said.
In the market also, the price of foodstuff items, yam, palm oil and groundnut oil have been relatively low as observed by our correspondent.
Checks showed that the recent change in the economy and the efforts by the government so far has led to the fall of the food prices.
Alhaji Pepper, a trader who spoke to our correspondent said, the price of dry pepper has reduced but the worrisome issue is that of the low patronage recorded on a daily basis.
“A big bag of dry pepper cost N52,000, as against its old price of N60,000. A bag of long dry pepper cost N25,000 and a bag of Cameroon pepper cost N23,000. Sales have improved and we are grateful to God but pray for more sales because it seems not all the buyers are aware of the reduction in the price of goods,” Alhaji Pepper informed.
Iya Bisi, a trader who sells perishable goods in the market, informed that the poor economic condition affected the price and availability of the goods negatively.
“A basket of tomatoes depending on the size of the tomatoes, size of the basket as well as the availability will either make it affordable or not. The price of fresh tomatoes and smashed tomatoes differ. Because of the economic condition, the country is faced with, some buyers always opt for the smashed tomatoes rather than the fresh tomatoes.
“A basket of a fresh tomatoes, are sold from N8,000 upwards while a bag of small pepper (Rodo) can be purchased for N4,000 and a bag of new onion cost N22,000 and old onion cost N35,000. We sell onion from N50. Same goes for pepper and tomatoes now.
“The economic situation in the country has affected not only the purchasing power of the buyers but also their consumption pattern. Consumer who come to patronize us laments and seeks for the reduction in the price of goods prior this period. So therefore, this news will go a long way in shaping their perception of the efforts this administration is taking in order to achieve their change mantra.
“Now we make good sales due to the reduction in the cost of purchase. But we just hope this positive development will be effective in a long time because the times are really hard, the major roads are bad and the cost of transportation as well as carriage is high,” Iya Bisi told our correspondent.
As discovered during the survey, other items like tomato paste, baked beans and Maggi have witnessed a reduction in price.
A carton of Gino 800g cost N7,300, as against its old price of N7,600. A bag of Knorr Chicken (Maggi) cost N7,400 and a carton of baked beans cost N3,200.
Legit.ng also visited other shops in the market, to examine the development, and confirm the fears allayed by Nigerians who are concerned with the recent cost of goods in the market. The worst hits are electronics, household items, durables, and other ‘essential commodities.’
Sunny, an electronics dealer at the market expressed the difficulty now experienced in traders' bid to convince customers to still buy goods at lower prices.
According to him: “Electronic items are very expensive now and some of lower quality are affordable. Original chargers that we sell for N1,500 before, now cost N2,500 depending on the brand. The fake chargers that use to cost N500, now cost N1,500 and some N1,000. While original earphones cost N1,500 upwards as against its old price of N700 and N1000. For television set, the second hand television that we sell for N15,000 before, now cost N25,000 depending on the size, the brand and the design as well as its features.
“Phones are not left out of the hike in prices. Original phones (small) that cost N4,000, N5,000 and 7,000 before, now cost N5,000, N7,000 and N10,000 while the fake small sized phones can be purchased from N2,500, N5,000 and N7,000. Everything is now very expensive and the prices of goods affect the level of patronage.”
Another dealer, Uchenna explained the market situation. he informed that the prices of goods have become a worrisome affair between the traders’ and the buyers. Adding that, their income determines their purchasing power.
He said: “The way things are turning out in this country, it is pathetic. We really do not have a direction as a country now. We do not even know what is happening in every sector. What you bought for N2,000 two months ago is now as high as N4,000. The fluctuation in the foreign currency, Dollar affected the prices of goods in Nigeria because most of our goods are imported outside the shores of Nigeria.
“The amount received by salary earners determines their purchasing power. If they earn less, they buy less. If they earn more, they buy more."
A business man identified as Chibuike who sells foodstuff items, have similar view of the current situation in the country. He hints that business is not booming as expected, explaining further that some people are scared of investing their money into any business venture because of the crisis going on in Nigeria.
“The exchange rate affects the price of goods especially the foodstuff items, because they are shipped into Nigeria and are bought from Neighbouring countries. Their prices are not stable rather they fluctuate. But things are not just the way it used to be. A bag of Egusi (machine) cost N48,000 while a bag of egusi (handpeel) cost N55,000. A bag of Ogbono cost N65,000, N54,000 depending on the face of the ogbono, the size of the bag and the type.
“For crayfish, it is very expensive now. One measurement cost N13,000 while the two measurement (patala) cost N26,000.The demand was lower than the supply, hence the price hike in previous months. But now the demand is high and people are scared to invest because of the crisis ongoing in Nigeria,” Chibuike explained.
At the market, some consumers were optimistic that the prices of food items would crash further before the year ends: as many of the marketers that hoarded commodities are beginning to release them at lower prices.
Mrs. Gloria, a consumer, said the current economic hardship would end with massive food production, appealing to traders to stop hoarding the prices of goods in other to make profit.
She said: “Nigeria produce less and consume more. When a country tends to consume more than its produce, it leads to food shortage and a weaker economy. Traders should also desist from hoarding food prices in an attempt to make more gains.”
Our correspondent gathered from the market, one of the main source of commodities showed a significant reduction in price are palm oil, groundnut oil and sugar. 25-litre of groundnut oil cost N11,500 while 25-litre of palm oil cost N12,800 and a bag of Sugar cost N14,000 as against its old price of N16,000.
Also some traders informed that the prices have begun to reduce in recent times, yet some goods are still very expensive, further findings revealed.
A trader who sells yam at the market identified simply as Ibrahim, said only few commodities experienced a reduction in prices, but he is certain that the prices will come down in months ahead.
“Not all the goods in the market are affordable and available. In fact some keeps soaring. The truth is, the goods are available in the various producing states, but the cost of transporting them to the markets here in Lagos, is very expensive and not all buyers can afford it but with time, things will return to normalcy,” Ibrahim told our correspondent.
The above opinion of traders are just a few of what businesses in Nigeria face every day. Business owners struggle to make good sales due to ever increasing cost of operations rising from lack of basic amenities such as steady electricity, good transportation network for both agricultural and industrial goods, Forex and inconsistent fiscal and monetary policies.
Experts, had warned in the past months that one of the vital ways to prevent further fall of the naira is to prevent importation of foreign items and encourage Nigerians to consume locally, adding that it was not entirely a monetary problem, but a fiscal problem in which this present administration has been tackling.
It is the general expectation, however, that this tide will pass, regardless of how long it lasts.
Market Survey: Meet the real hustlers, hawkers on the streets of Lagos via Legit.ng TV