- Few days after lockdown ease, traders reveal reasons for the hike in the cost price of some goods
- In a chat with Legit.ng, they lament over low purchasing power of buyers as well as lockdown impact on foodstuff prices
- The traders are optimistic of better sales in weeks ahead as survival becomes a struggle
In Lagos, there are big markets where goods are sold at reasonable prices as well of good quality; there are some that strictly offer for sale good farm produce but this period, it is not just about shopping but about taking responsibility for ones health as visiting such market can be quite difficult and risky due to the fear of coronavirus.
Weeks after the Federal Government approved and announced the gradual easing of the lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states effective from Monday May 4th,2020, traders in Lagos market share their experience over the hike in the cost price of goods during and after the lockdown which lasted for five weeks.
The traders in their revelation informed our correspondent of the present market condition, the hike in the cost price of some goods and the fluctuation in the price of others that are manufactured locally.
Following the directives of the government, some traders explained how they lived in the moments in the past five weeks and others told Legit.ng how they incorporate new method of surviving in this present time.
At the market, findings by our correspondent showed that most goods in the market have increased by five percent and others by three percent. The traders attributed this increment in the cost price of the goods to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the economy negatively.
A yam seller at the market said although the some goods were available and supplied in large quantity before the lockdown ease but presently, the cost of supply of the goods now are higher which has influenced the hike in the cost price of goods in the market.
He said: “We spend double of the money we use before to get the goods now; this is so because bringing the goods to the market from neighbouring state is a bit difficult despite the government’s directive. It is very risky to transport goods from other states to our market here in Lagos. Some drivers are not even willing to take the risk due to the fear of covid-19.
“Yam is very expensive; and some yam sellers who couldn’t purchase yam at expensive rate now sell sweet potato. A small tuber of yam is sold from N600 while a big sized tuber of yam is sold from N1,000 and N1,500 upwards. 100 tubers of yam that we purchase for N55,000 upwards before, now goes for N70,000 upwards depending on the size; the bigger the yam, the higher the price. It is surprising that when some buyers price a tuber or three tubers of such yam, you would almost shed tears. One will not blame them because they are also not finding it easy to survive now.
“During the lockdown, we made sales because most buyers would come to the market often than expected to purchase goods but now, they patronize us on weekly basis because they have to source for funds that they will spend. With this, market is not moving as expected. The lockdown has affected our businesses negatively and seasonal factors; this is the season where yam will be expensive because it is gradually going out of season and giving way for new yam to enter into the market in months ahead.
“Right now, it is not easy for us as traders because prior to this period, the buyers lament over the low cash at hand but now, some have lost their jobs and the ones that are still working, they are managing their funds. This is really tough time for u all as we manage to eat good food but we appreciate the efforts of the government so far in the fight against the coronavirus, it is not an easy task but they are trying.”
Meanwhile, commercial activities resumed on Monday in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun sates after the gradual easing of restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic as Lagos state remains the epic centre of the disease.
In light of the above, commuters pay more for transportation fare as well as traders in the states. This has not been an easy ride for many whose source of income on a daily basis is low as they tend to spend more than they save now.
While most business owners are not willing to take the huge risk of coming out, the few that are operational now, lament over poor market condition.
A trader who sells rice in the market told Legit.ng that the cost price of rice especially the local one is very high and the quality of some low.
The trader expressed dissatisfaction over the high cost of goods that has resulted to low patronage.
“We did not see the rising prices of goods coming, because we were after the safety of our lives. The reverse is the case now as the goods that are produced locally have become very expensive and some their cost price rise and fall on a daily basis. This is not good for business as it affects the purchasing power of buyers which in turn result to low sales.
“Now, the cost price of rice has risen by over five percent. A bag of local rice that sells for N20,000, N23,000 before the lockdown, now goes for N25,000 upwards and a derica sells from N400 upwards but the ones with stones sells from N350. But for beans and garri, the content of the bag influence the cost price to a large extent. Presently, there is no fixed price for garri because it fluctuates further. And at a particular market day, it is cheap and at another day, it is very expensive. This too affects sales.
“25- litre of branded groundnut oil that goes for N12, 500 before, now sell from N13,500 and the refill groundnut oil cost N12,000 while the price of palm oil goes for N11, 500. The price of beans lately have not been stable, it fluctuates. A bag of beans (olotu) cost N38,000 same with (olone). And a medium sized bag of oloyin cost N25,000 and its derica cost N250. A bag of garri last week cost N14,000 while this week it has reduced to N12,000 but some still sell theirs for N13,000. A paint bucket of garri goes for N750 and sometimes N900; depending on a particular market day.
“Buyers are really complaining of the local rice and how some after cooking tastes bad, this too has affected the level of sales. Now we are appealing to local manufacturers to produce quality rice and not quantity so that the buyers get the real value for their money in this harsh time; because business is not moving as expected, it is still partial lockdown following the measures put in place by the government,” The rice dealer told Legit.ng.
A trader who sells ogbono and crayfish at the market opined that business during the lockdown has been very bad; adding that goods were sold at affordable rates yet trader’s record low sales after daily activities.
The trader said: “During the lockdown, market environment was also on a partial lockdown because everywhere was just too dry and now, the sales have been a gradual one too. But the prices of foodstuff items remain stable and buyers are buying in small quantity due to the situation we are all faced with, in the country.
“A bag of ogbono sells from N80,000; the one that draws well while that of egusi sells from N55,000 upwards depending on the type and the content of the bag. Some traders, who sell the grinded ones, tend to mix it and then sell at affordable prices and others sell at an expensive rates. The ones that are not mix are very expensive. Now, buyers prefer ogbono to egusi because after preparing it, it lasts longer and the does not lose its taste.
“Presently, we don’t purchase goods in large quantity as the ones we purchased in previous weeks are still loaded in the shops. We are really trying to make sales because the economy has affected us all, making survival very difficult for most families. We hope things would change for the better for us all in weeks ahead.”
Surprisingly, the prices of local and imported food items have been on the rise due to the exchange rate and the restriction placed on importation of certain food items.
This has led to an increase in the price of most goods that are imported into the country before the lockdown but now due to the restrictions, such goods are scarce in some markets and in other markets they are very expensive as some traders have ran out of stock of these goods.
With this development, the locally produced goods that are available are expensive due to high cost of production and increasing demand of the items.
Whilst the government is not relenting in its efforts to protect its citizen from the deadly virus, some traders see this as an avenue to cash out by increasing the cost prices of their goods.
Reacting to the above assertions, a vegetable seller told Legit.ng that the high cost of carriage has influenced the cost price of vegetables in the market lately.
She said: “We spend a lot more on the carriage of the goods now to the market; this has therefore led to the increment in the cost price of vegetables apart from the increment in the cost of purchase. It has gotten to a level now where some traders switch to selling of fruits and other seasonal items. When there are no sales, we reduce the quantity and sell at a cheaper rate.”
Also at the market, a provision dealer in a chat with our correspondent revealed the drop in patronage and how it has affected sales volume.
In his explanation, he told our correspondent that the prices of dairy products like milk, flakes, beverages and others have increased. Some have increased to a higher amount while others are still sold at a reasonable rate.
“The goods that are imported into the country are very high. Now, most traders don’t have some items in their shops, they have either run out of stock or they cannot afford to purchase the goods because their prices have increased drastically. This has affected sales to a large extent leading to poor patronage. Now, locally manufactured provisional items are too expensive and some imported ones are not even available for sale,” The seller informed.
Another trader who sells soup ingredients, spices, paste, pasta and magi attribute the hike in the cost price of the goods to the coronavirus pandemic.
In her words, she opined that the increment has been a gradual one and their cost price is also influenced by the brands.
She stated that: “These goods increase on a daily basis; it has been a gradual rise in the price of the goods and the brands that manufacture them also influences their cost price. A carton of tomato is sold from N2,800 and this depends on the location and the choice of the seller as some would sell it higher and others lower.
“Also, the cost price of seasoning cubes have risen a bit and the ones of high brands are way too expensive while others added five to ten percent increment. The ones that cost N80 before, now goes for N120 and this too has affected the level of purchase of the buyers. Right now, most people now sell face/nose mask; this is the latest business in town.”
Still at the market, fresh tomatoes and pepper have become very expensive in the market and the traders attribute this to the Ramadan fast and the season.
“There has been a change in the cost price of tomatoes, only the watery ones are sold from N100, others are sold from N200 upwards. The supply is low and the cost of purchase is very high. This is same with the cost price of pepper but onion is still affordable. A basket of Hausa tomatoes cost N12,000 upwards as against its old price of N6,000 and N8,000. A bag of chili pepper cost N10,000. For onion, it is not expensive and still sold at affordable rates. A small bag is purchased from N15,000 upwards and the big bag from N25,000 upwards.
“Lately, we survive as traders by engaging in other business like grinding; after people purchase tomatoes, pepper and onion from us we grind and this is the another way we make a living as the profit we get from selling the perishable items now is very low.
“The Hausa tomatoes, the Jos tomatoes and the Benue tomatoes are very expensive and they are preferred by most buyers but this period, their supply is low as suppliers blame it on Ramadan and the impact of the lockdown so far on the economy but the supply of other tomatoes is high. The prices of these goods depends on the market visited, the size of the basket and the bag, the market day and the choice of some sellers; as some would sell it lower to these prices so as to make sales faster and others sell it higher so as to make extra profit,” A perishable dealer at the market told Legit.ng.
Although the market is not a safe haven but it is advisable for the traders and buyers to obey the government’s directive, continue to practice social distancing as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle and a cleaner environment daily not forgetting the use face/nose mask.
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