- Traders in popular Lagos market share their opinion on the impact of Coronavirus on food prices so far, after significant fall in oil prices that has led to drop in revenue globally
- The marketers in a chat with Legit.ng said there’s been no difference in the prices of goods except for imported items; adding that the outbreak has not affected patronage rather the state of the economy globally
- They however informed that the market environment is safe for all but urge buyers as well as traders in other markets to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a clean environment daily
As more reactions continue to trail the effect of Coronavirus on the economy, traders in popular Lagos market share their opinion on the impact of the disease on food prices so far. The pandemic which has led to significant drop in oil prices, have also resulted to drop in revenue across the globe.
Legit.ng visited Sura market, located on Lagos Island, Lagos and inquired from traders the impact of the outbreak on the prices of goods and level of patronage.
Prior to this day, medical experts including the minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora have allayed the fears of citizens who were feeling jittery over the initial sudden increase in the price of protective face/nose masks, in wake of the Coronavirus epidemic in Nigeria.
At the market, sellers who spoke with Legit.ng, informed that there’s really no cause for alarm and no difference in the cost price of goods; adding that the low patronage is attributed to poor state of the economy that has resulted to inflation in the country and inadequate cash on the part of the buyers.
Reacting to the level of sales and present market situation, a store owner at the market who sells provisional items, hand sanitisers, face/nose masks and more said: “The virus so far has impacted negatively on the global market and its outbreak is increasing on a daily basis in some countries; while some are dead, others are infected. One cannot predict what would happen next but we all should be prepared daily to promote personal hygiene and cleanliness.
“Sales before and now has been encouraging; the only issue is that suppliers are having a hard time but there is always a way out in every situation; so they always get our goods delivered but not in time now because most of the goods that are imported are quite expensive and they cannot travel to get it due to the scare of the virus in other countries. If we cannot get imported goods, we can always make do of the available resources that we have here which is our local goods manufactured here.
“Now, we have different types of hand sanitisers and face mask, in fact from the lowest price N800, to the highest price, depending on the brand and store location. There’s been increment in the cost of the goods that we sell before the outbreak of the virus like Provisional items and other goods.”
A trader, who sells yam at the market, told Legit.ng that the virus has not affected the cost price of goods in the market but our health should be taken seriously.
Commending the Lagos state government efforts so far, the trader said: “The Coronavirus disease is indeed a deadly disease as we hear of new cases from other countries across the globe. Nigeria seems to be safe for now as the government makes this disease and its cases a priority. When Ebola came in 2014, the government fought and defeated Ebola; we will also fight and win the battle over the virus by making sure we promote a healthy lifestyle and cleaner environment. Let us ensure we prioritize our health.
“I sell yam in this market and I can tell you that before, the market is never like this. The present market situation is worrisome. The market is dry, we only make sales from food vendors as most buyers complain a lot and just goods in the market without even buying, and all they complain about is 'no money'.
“The cost price of the yam is not influenced by the outbreak of the disease but the economy and seasonal factors. In the market now, yam is a bit expensive as it is going out of season gradually but we still make sales daily and we are hopeful that this phase too shall pass, it is not easy.”
With a view different from the above assertion, a fabric shop owner at the market, told Legit.ng that sales has been encouraging but the government should intensify its efforts as the spread of the virus is worrisome.
“I am grateful to God that we are alive and business is intact. Sales has been encouraging so far because no matter the situation we are faced with in this country, there are people who cannot do without attending an occasion by weekend to grove and forget about their issues; we always get buyers, loyal ones who patronize us daily. There is always a party every weekend, so we make sales but the virus has not affected the price of the goods we sell now as some are purchased from neighbouring countries.
“The brand and the material used by manufacturers often determines the cost price of the fabrics either ankara, guinea or lace. We have some that are sold from N1,000 in the market and we also have the ones that are sold from N5,000, N10,000, N50,000 upwards and buyers would place an order. So, it depends on the taste of the buyer and the occasion they are attending; if it demands expensive fabric, we have to offer, if it demands less expensive ones, we have to offer them because we are here to serve them.
“The only thing now is for our government to double their efforts in prioritizing the healthcare system as the continuous spread of the virus now is worrisome not only to us as a nation but globally; the impact is felt more on the economy.”
A food item dealer at the market said the marketplace is safe and that everyone should be conscious of their environment irrespective of your financial status. Adding that, the government should not be left to shoulder the responsibility alone.
Tochukwu told our corespondent that: “Coronavirus has not affected the cost price of goods. And presently, there’s been reduction in the cost price of the some goods we sell. Now, the bag of foreign rice is sold from N24,000 while the bag of local rice is sold from N21,000 upwards. For garri, it is a bit expensive as the bigger the content in the bag, the higher the price. A big bag of garri (yellow and white) cost N20,000 while the small bag goes for N9,000 and N8,000 respectively because the higher the content, the higher the price.
“For beans, olotu cost N26,000 while oloyin cost N18,000. The patronage is very encouraging and the market condition is fair. The only issue we have is the weather, the weather changes and this affects our business to a large extent.
“Daily we wake up to the news of new cases or victim of the virus in other parts of the world but we are not afraid as a nation. The government is trying so hard to keep the country safe as it is now; Nigeria is like a safe heaven. But we should individually try to keep protecting ourselves by living healthy. We have all the things we need to achieve this.”
At the market, it is still business as usual. Some of the traders were seen sitting idle and others trying to call the attention of few buyers around the shops.
A fish seller at the market laments poor sales following the hike in price of the item and as well poor market situation. According to her, the virus has affected her business because imported items have become very expensive.
“The cost price of fish and other imported items have become very expensive because of the continuous spread of the disease and border closure. The disease is real and we need be hygienic as traders so that when buyers come to patronize us, they would be encouraged to come again.
“Presently, I am not making good sales and I don’t even know why because when traders by the road side are not making sales, then what do you expect of the ones inside the shop? Not all the fish are imported rather some are from other sate kin Nigeria, yet they are expensive as suppliers complain of the season.
“The season has affected the cost price of the goods and not coronavirus. We are pleading with the government to make things easy for the people so they can come buy things from us. Buyers purchase fish that are very affordable as they are worry over their finances. Business is dull and not moving; I am here just so I can fend for my family with the little sales I make daily,” The fish seller stated.
In the same light, a trader who pleaded anonymity said people should stop spreading false information about the disease and the market. According to her, they create fear in the minds of the people generally and this in turn affects sales.
She said: “Goods still maintain their old prices, no difference. Coronavirus only affected the prices of imported goods and other items like branded sanitisers, medical items and accessories, and more not food items that are produced within the country because suppliers are unable to travel out of the country for now. Other items in the shop are sourced for within Nigeria. More importantly, some of the goods we sell now have been purchased in large quantities before the outbreak.
“As we speak, goods are quite affordable in the market yet patronage is low due to the economy. The reason why some items are expensive is not far-fetched; it is so because other countries are trying to prevent more spread of the virus hence shops, malls, stores, supermarket have been shut down for the safety of their citizen because more people are falling victim of the deadly virus.
“Our government did it before and they can still do it again. They are ready; we too should assist by not spreading false information. Goods are very affordable and they are only affected by seasonal factors, transportation network and weather conditions now. In fact, provisional items are quite expensive and I can tell you it was so before the virus surfaced.
“Since the first case was announced in Nigeria, I took a step by making sure where I sell, is well kept and my family maintains a hygienic environment and we eat healthy. The right thing for us all to do is to research more about the virus and take necessary precautions and stop going about misinforming others as buyers will get scared and sales will be affected negatively.”
Interestingly, food vendors in the market are really satisfy with business now as buyers were on queue to get their attention. But for traders who sell perishable goods in the market, the reverse seems to be the case as they complain of low sales, attributing it to the economy.
The tomato seller in the market told our corespondent that: “The price of tomato, pepper and onion remain the same. They are very cheap and are available. You can get a basket of fresh tomatoes from N5,000 upwards depending on the size of the basket and the type of tomato but the smashed ones are more affordable. This is goes for pepper and even onion. In fact, it is the season for onion as it is very cheap in the market now.
“We make sales but at a very low level. Perishable goods like tomato, pepper and onions are a bit affected because some of our customers who purchase these goods and take to other countries to resell, for personal use and some who run restaurants and kitchen can no longer do so now, because businesses over there have been affected as well. Now, the virus has affected our business here too in an unexpected way.”
In another situation, meat sellers are not satisfied with the current state of the nation as they informed our correspondent that the virus has affected their business. According to them, before and now, seems to be the same, nothing has changed.
A meat seller at the market in an interview with Legit.ng opined that beef is very affordable in the market and available but the virus is not the only factor contributing to low sales.
He said: “The virus is a global issue and Nigeria is not the only country affected by the outbreak. Before the outbreak, prices of some good are high and if they increase now, then the traders are the ones to be blame. Goods are still sold at the same price before and even now, some are very affordable. The usual case we have in the market is that buyers keep complaining over the poor economy that has resulted into hunger and poverty in the land.”
Following the ban placed on the exportation of the drug product ingredients, by the Indian government, as the Wuhan Coronavirus continues to spread like Wildfire across the globe, the national health insecurity is one that will raise concerns for all. As a result of this, there has been a shift in supply and patronage of goods especially the imported ones.
The traders at the market, who were keen on the safety of the buyers, informed of a safe market environment and advised the buyers as well as sellers in other market across the state to make their health a priority and maintain a healthy lifestyle and as well ensure they purchase quality goods and keep the market environment clean daily.
Market Survey: The drop in oil price has not affected the prices in the market via Legit TV