- The prices of perishable items in some local markets across the state have continued to soar
- Checks by Legit.ng at Mile 12 market, Lagos, reveal an increment in the price of basic food items and a fluctuation in others
- Some traders selling food items narrated the current market situation on their businesses while others lamented poor sales and an increment in the cost of purchase
- While most Nigerians have lamented the impact of the economy as well as worsening value of the naira, traders informed that sales are not encouraging revealing that the hike in the price of goods, especially perishable items is due to the planting season
It is that time of the year when farmers sow their seeds and wait for bountiful harvest and while doing this, a lot of businesses suffer loss due to scarcity of some food produce.
Mile 12 traders are not left out in this ordeal, as the traders in the market lamented the increment in the cost price and low profit margin after daily sales.
Checks by Legit.ng at the market showed an increment in the cost of perishable items and fluctuation in others.
Some customers in the market, informed our correspondent that this change is expected and of importance, as new produce will be available in the market in due time. But others are of the opinion that apart from the crippling economy, the crisis in the northern part of the country has resulted in unstable prices of goods.
Alaoma, a trader who sells food items in the market, revealed the current prices of ogbono, egusi, crayfish and dry pepper.
He said: “There has been great improvement in the market as regards buying of goods, the price of some food items that are produced locally is high and others imported into the country stable. This has affected our business negatively.
“A bag of egusi cost N40,000 but not anymore as the price increased by 30 percent. A bag of Egusi (Handpeel) cost N85,000 while the machine cost N90,000 as against its old price of N55,000. For ogbono, the price keeps fluctuating. A bag of ogbono before ranges from N80,000 to N90,000 but now, a bag cost between N100,000 to N110,000.
“For crayfish, a big nylon goes for N26,000 as against its old price of N28,000. But the cost of our goods lately, is due to the insurgency at the northern part of the country, as some farmers are affected to a large extent.”
While narrating his own ordeal, Ebuka, a foodstuff dealer lamented the increment in the cost of rice, beans and a reduction in the cost of garri.
“A bag of rice (Aroso) cost N14,500 while that of rice (Agric) cost N14,000. For beans, we have oloyin, olotu and oloone. Oloyin is often packaged in small bags while others are packaged in big bags. A small bag beans (oloyin) cost N22,000. A bag of beans (olotu) cost N53,000 while a big bag of beans (oloone) cost N42,000.
“I sell cotonou garri, and it is not expensive like other of garri. The big bag cost N11,500 while the small bag cost N8,000. For garri (white) the small bag is affordable but the yellow is a bit higher and their prices are not fixed. It fluctuates, but the market and cost of purchase determines the price of the goods.
“The price of beans soared this week than in previous months. I cannot really point out to one factor that led to it but when those supplying us goods, purchased at an increased price, then we will resell at a higher price,” he noted.
At the market, groundnut oil and palm oil have witnessed a slight reduction in prices. Still, the traders lament low sales.
A trader who sells groundnut oil, identified simply as Mrs. Okorie, said the poor economy is the reason for the low sales despite reduction in the prices of the goods in the market.
The mother of three told our correspondent that: “The economy has affected a lot of homes, as they can no longer purchase goods at the usual rate. Some buyers have concluded already that the price of virtually all goods in the market have soared, which is not so.
“The branded ground-nut oil is expensive but the refill is quite affordable. 25-litre of vegetable oil, which previously sold for N12, 500, now cost N11, 500, palm oil decreased from N11, 000 to N10, 500.
“The amount we purchase our goods will determine the amount we sell. I think it is just normal for food items to be expensive during this period when the economy is not stable still, there has been a reduction in the price of groundnut-oil and palm-oil.”
Similarly, a trader at the market, Mummy Motunrayo explained the increment in the price of kerosene.
She said: “The survival rate in the country now is low. What the consumers do is that, they come to the market, price the goods, after walking around looking for cheap goods, most of them go home without buying anything.
“A 25-litre of kerosene that goes for N4,500, has now risen to N7,500 or N8,000 depending on the market location. This has affected sales, as the quantity has reduced as well as the quality. Buyers now prefer using gas to stove now, they complain that the kerosene dries up faster unlike before. This is affecting us greatly. Sales has dropped and we almost end up in debt by the end of the day. Turnover is very low.”
But Saliu, a yam seller has a different view from other traders' line of thought.
According to him: “Yams are expensive due to the season we are in now. This is the time when old yam gives way for the new harvest, new yam. It is expected of farm produce to be expensive now but it is not permanent, only a matter of weeks, we will see the availability of new yams in the market.
“New yam is in some market now, it is not as strong and sweet as the old yam hence the old yam becomes expensive. Lately, you can get five tubers of yam (small) from N2,500 and five tubers of yam (big) from N4,000.”
Further findings by our correspondent revealed unstable prices of some imported goods while locally produced consumer goods have maintained fluctuating prices.
Meanwhile, perishable items like fresh tomatoes and pepper have become expensive in the market but onion is quite affordable as observed in the market.
Nigerians have been severely affected by the scarcity of tomatoes, which is a key ingredient in most of the delicacies prepared in this part of the continent. The price of the fruit has increased by 20-30 percent; Nigerians now pay around N300, N200 for the same quantity of tomatoes which was sold at N100 and N50 few months ago.
Around this time last year, farmers in some parts of Nigeria recorded losses as a result of pest attack, but the consequences of this attack were not reflected in the price of the commodity because the demand for the crop was not as high as it is now.
One of the traders at the market, Iya Motunrayo, attributed the drop in prices of foodstuffs to the increased supply the produce to the market, increased production by farmers and government efforts for diversification of the economy in the agricultural sector.
The trader said: “The supply of the produce has reduced and the demand increased. Now, the supply of the produce is more than the demand because farmers commenced harvest in December and there would be surplus in the market till the month of April when the harvest season would end.
“Tomatoes have become very expensive and some days scarce now. But pepper and onion are relatively low. A basket of tomato that was sold for N6,000, N8,000, N10,000 before, now goes for N12,000 and some basket N15,000. A big bag of chilli pepper cost N12,000 before, now it can be purchased from N9,000, N7,000 and N5,000 downwards. Right now, people go for sachet tomato than the fresh produce.”
Apart from the hike in prices of food items, fruits like garden egg, orange, carrot, golden melon, apple are available and affordable while pawpaw is scarce at the market.
Fresh fruit and vegetable prices have exhibited seasonal patterns due to seasonal changes in temperature, weather, and availability. As some have become very affordable and others scarce and expensive.
The seasonal movements for fresh fruit prices tend to be the opposite of those for fresh vegetables. During the dry season months – that is December, January, and February – vegetable prices are at their cheapest while fruit prices are at their most expensive. During the rainy season months – June, July, and August – fruit prices are at their cheapest and vegetable prices are at their most expensive.
A vastly-traveled buyer, Akin, who spoke with our correspondent, explained the reason why tomato is scarce this period.
“Most farm produce comes from the northern part of the country, and when it starts to rain, the farmers will not plant and thus focus on other produce: this will in turn affect the market negatively. Then, they start growing maize, believing it will be profitable.
“Now, the demand for tomato is higher than the supply. Apart from security issues affecting the country especially northern states, the economy, seasonal change and the tomato disease called tuta absoluta are huge factors affecting the prices of tomatoes in the market generally," the man explained.
Despite the general increase in non-farm produce, reduction in salaries of public and private employees have weakened the purchasing power of most buyers at this tough period.
Market Survey: Why Are Prices of Foodstuff, Fruits Always High During Ramadan? via Legit.ng TV