- After total closure of the border, some food prices have become affordable in major markets across the state
- Legit.ng paid a visit to Mile 12 market and sought the views of traders further on the impact of the border closure on their businesses and how they are coping with recent price changes
- The traders informed of the shift in consumption pattern and demand of the nation’s major staple food (rice) to tubers and cereals
- While some applauded the federal government efforts, others are optimistic of its impact on food prices in months to come
After the ban placed on the importation of rice, some goods have become affordable in markets across the state. Legit.ng paid a visit to Mile 12 international market, Mile 12, Lagos to find out how traders are coping with the recent changes in prices of goods generally.
For some traders, the total closure of the border by the government did not come as a surprise rather a norm by almost every administration and others, a welcome development. This development has led to the fall in prices of some goods, fruits and others in markets across the state.
A trader who sells food items like rice, beans and garri said the closure of the border was expected; adding that the authorities in charge should work harder to make this feat a success, one that should bring about positive results in the economy.
He said: “The present administration is trying really hard to promote local goods but it’s a pity its not going round. Many see the closure of the border as some sort of punishment on the mass, but I can tell you as a trader, it is a blessing so far. The painful thing is that this country keeps dragging backward despite our God-given resources; this is why this administration took this bold step to see to the good of our land. We are coping very well and are making good sales.
“After the closure of the border, rice became expensive and demand lower but beans and other goods are very affordable hence their demand is higher now. People opt for beans, yam, potato, spaghetti/macaroni and other foodstuff items due to the high cost of rice in the market now.
“We have two types of local rice; the stony one and the non-stony one. The non-stony one looks like foreign rice and taste good as well but the stony one does not. The one with stones, you can get the bag from N17,000 upwards while the one without stone, you can get it from N22,000 upwards. This is so because the production is not sufficient but in months to come, the local rice would become very affordable. The foreign rice can be purchased from N25, 000 upwards. Not all buyers can afford the non-stony ones due to the cost price.
“For beans, it is very cheap, same with garri. A bag of beans can be purchased from N20,000 while a bag of garri (yellow) goes for N7,000 and white, N6,000. The farmers cultivating rice now would be proud to make good returns due to this feat by the government as we now sell our own local rice, although a bit expensive but tastes good. Now, most customers buy more of beans and garri, especially those who can’t afford rice.”
Meanwhile, there’s been a shift in the consumption pattern of the nation’s major staple food rice to cereals and tuber as informed by traders.
As some sellers at the market were dissatisfied with the recent market condition, others are embracing the new change. Whilst they expressed worry over the hike in price of some goods, buyers complain of insufficient funds.
A trader, who spoke with our correspondent, explained how the border closure has affected their businesses on a daily basis positively.
“I sell garri alone, before the border closure I struggle to make sales but now, I am making good sales. When some traders cannot afford the rice without stones, they purchase garri instead. I would say this is a step in the right direction.
“The border closure is an eye-opener to some business owners; although some traders are finding it difficult to buy their goods due to the increment in the cost of those goods. Prior to this period, some goods that are exported become very expensive here in Nigeria while the imported ones are very affordable. This is because those goods can no longer be smuggled out of the country conveniently.
“Right now, the smugglers are still smuggling some goods into the country because the local ones are not really sufficient but the closure of the border has impacted positively to the growth of our businesses as its still work in progress. I can tell you that in months to come, we will be smiling as food prices especially rice would drop significantly. We also plead with the government to make our local goods affordable as they are expensive even before the closure of the border,” Mr. Olisa, a foodstuff dealer at the market told Legit.ng.
Also, fish is expensive and most fish sellers have now switched to selling of cow hides (ponmo), yam, fruits to mention but a few due to the high cost of purchase.
Reacting negatively to this development, a fish seller at the market opined that the border closure is not helping their business in anyway and sales not encouraging.
She said: “Fish is very expensive now, especially Titus fish and croaker fish and kote fish but sawa and panla is a bit affordable. Some of us who can’t cope with the high cost of purchase have started selling ponmo or fruits because they are not finding it easy at all as most buyers purchase panla fish or sawa instead of kote, Titus and croaker.
“A carton of Titus fish before can be purchased from N22,000 but now it has risen to N24,000 upwards. While a carton of big sized croaker can be purchased from N25,000 upwards. A carton of kote can be purchased from N15,000 upwards while sawa and panla can be purchased from N8,000 upwards depending on the size of the fish and the content in the carton as well as the market visited.
“One major problem we face now is the extra fee added to the cost price of the goods. The importers have added extra money to the previous price we pay to purchase the goods. And considering its perishable nature if we don’t sell on time, we will run at a loss hence we sell below cost price.”
Similarly, new yams are very affordable and available at the market yet traders lament low patronage. A seller at the market told Legit.ng of the recent change in business activities in relation to the consumption pattern of the consumers.
“Now, most buyers who cannot afford rice, purchase yam but their level of patronage are low as they lament of low cash in hand. Presently, you can get a tuber of small yam for as low as N300 and a big sized yam from N500 upwards. But some buyers do not really like new yam as they prefer the old yam due to its taste which makes business slow.
“After the border closure buyers do come to patronize us especially those that cannot afford rice but at the close of the day, we do not record good profit because the quantity of purchase is reduced. People are buying yams more now but we are not making good returns as we ought to. Business is very dull now despite the affordability of the goods.” The yam seller lamented.
While some are counting their loss, others see this development as an opportunity to make good sales.
A trader, who sells provisional items at the market, say businesses in the country were affected to an extent but sales have been encouraging.
“This is a welcome development but not all goods can be produced in Nigeria. The government should make provision of certain machinery; equip farmers as well as local industries to be able to produce items of good quality and not quantity so that we will become a force to reckon with globally.
“Most traders and businesses have suffered a huge setback and some of the goods we sell that are imported have become very expensive while the local ones have increased by ten percent now. Goods like, noodles, biscuit, bread, beverages, detergent and bath soap are not affected as they maintain stability in prices as some increased by just five percent.
“A dozen of powdered milk is sold from N250 upwards while the refill milk can be purchased from N900 . The tin-can powdered milk of different brands goes from N1,200 upwards, same with beverages. But cereals are very expensive and buyers are not really buying in large quantity; they continue to lament low income. We are making sales but it can get better in months to come,” The provision dealer informed.
More so, some goods that are of high demand have witnessed a slight change in its prices and low supply. For goods like vegetable and perishables, their prices have been affected by the weather condition while foodstuff items fluctuate further.
A vegetable seller in a chat with our correspondent explained what led to the increment in the price of vegetable.
Mama chinasa said: “The border closure has not affected the cost price of vegetable especially pumpkin leaf. Two factors are responsible; the weather condition and the recent flood. Some vegetables are out season now, and the continuous rainfall coupled with the recent flooding has affected the prices of others to a large extent.
“Despite the border closure, we are making good sales because most families cannot do without adding vegetable to their meal due to its health benefit. While some buy in large quantities, especially the food sellers others buy in small quantities due to the change in the consumption pattern now. Buyers purchase vegetables more than before and we are grateful for this.”
In the same vein, a tomato seller told our correspondent the recent increment in price of the produce.
“The border closure has not really affected the goods we sell except for the ones that are smuggled into the country from neighbouring countries. We have good tomatoes here in Nigeria but the prices are not fixed.
“Lately, there’s been slight increment in the cost price of fresh tomatoes while the smashed ones and the watery tomatoes are affordable. The Hausa tomatoes, the Jos tomatoes and the Benue tomatoes are quite expensive while the ones from other state that are watery are affordable. Also, the supply is not in excess as expected.
“A big basket of fresh tomatoes, is sold from N14, 000 upwards as against its old price of N10,000 and N8,000 respectively. While a big bag of big bag of pepper goes for N10,000 upwards and onion for N18,000 upwards. Some sell a small bag of onion from N15,000.
“We still have tomatoes whose basket are sold from N3,000, N4,000 and N5,000; this depends on the size of the basket and the choice of the trader. The market condition now is tensed as we struggle to sell off our goods especially perishable ones. It is not easy at all. The turnout of buyers is not encouraging but we are selling in other for us to survive in the business.”
Further findings at the market by Legit.ng showed that the acceptance of this development so far by some was impressive as others fault the decision made by the authorities. They are optimistic that things will turn out for the good of the populace in due time.
A caterer, who purchased local rice at the market, applauded the federal government efforts so far. She told Legit.ng that: “The decision made by the government was a good one but are they willing to keep up with the course they started? Because, some goods are still smuggled into the country, reason being that those goods are not yet produced in the country and are still of high quality to the Nigerian goods.
“It is not all goods that were affected by the border closure but the prices of the most demanded goods have risen. We must commend the authorities in charge for taking such a bold step; it is all for the good of our country and it is a welcome development.
“As a caterer, after the closure of the border, I started buying Nigerian rice and I can tell you it is okay but the government should try and consider the people in their decision-making process; they should help us reduce the cost price of the Nigerian rice, the non-stony one is very expensive. If they want us to buy made in Nigeria, then they should make the Nigerian goods very affordable.”
Another buyer at the market who pleaded anonymity stated that most traders are hoarding the price of goods due to their selfish interest.
The buyer without mincing his word said: “It is the usual practice in our country where prices of goods that rises never falls after. This is so bad. The government cannot monitor everything. The border is closed but the question is, are all goods in Nigeria imported? No. But you get to the market now, traders would tell you they have closed the border o. Almost all of them tell you this. It shouldn’t be. Some goods are not affected by the closure of the border and those traders who are selfish; see this as an avenue to exploit the buyers, making it look like things are very expensive in the market.
“The closure of the border is a good attempt but there should be checks and balance even at the border because some goods that were banned are still smuggled into the country. The border should be closely monitored and the government should make life easy for the people. The local goods are very expensive while the imported ones that were banned are not. The authorities in charge should try and make our own local goods to be affordable because the cost of living in the country is very high now and it’s becoming unbearable. We are suffering and at the same time smiling.”
In another development, foodstuff dealers are satisfied with the turn out buyers lately in relation to their business. According to the traders, the buyers now purchase foodstuff items in large quantities.
Traders, who sell foodstuff items like ogbono, egusi, crayfish, dry pepper and Cameroun pepper said the prices of these goods have dropped further immediately after the closure of border. According to them, goods that are exported have become affordable due to the closure of the border.
“Weeks after the closure of the border, prices of foodstuff items dropped especially egusi. Reason is not far-fetched; the smugglers are unable to take it out again, so this made the goods available, affordable and supply in excess now.
“Business is fine, and we are coping well. We are very much in support of the closure of the border; its a step in the right direction. The effect of the high cost of goods on businesses in general terms has been a negative one on our businesses in previous months now and some traders are wallowing in debt rather than profit because they have to survive notwithstanding the circumstances surrounding their business. But with the latest development, the level of patronage has increased due to the fact that buyers who cannot purchase rice now purchase our goods in large quantity as the cost price of our goods have dropped further.
“A bag of egusi now cost N60,000 and below as against its old price of N80,000. While a bag of ogbono, the one that draws well goes for N80,000 upwards but the price of the local one is lower to the price of the Badagry own. For pepper and crayfish, they are sold at affordable rates in markets across the state same with other goods and even fruits.
“We should for once patronize our own goods and stop complaining. This plan cannot materialize quickly, it will take a while; with time, our local goods will be very affordable and much more available. Let’s stop complaining and embrace change. Right now, it is no longer an easy one for the smugglers who export our own goods and make it more expensive for us traders to purchase. We are happy because foodstuff items are affordable, cost price reduced and sales increased,” The trader expressed.
Border closure: Nigerians now prefer eba to rice – traders lament via LEGIT TV