- With rising inflation rate in the country, food prices soared in markets across the state amid Salah celebrations
- This week checks by Legit.ng at popular markets in Lagos revealed the increment in the cost price of food items, perishable goods and fluctuation in others
- Some traders revealed the fast approaching celebration has not influenced food prices while others attribute this change to the coronavirus pandemic
Following the inflating prices of goods in major markets across the state, traders lament poor sales as amid Salah celebrations.
The Salah celebration this year would be on a low key as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage various sector of the economy. At the market this week, prices of food items like rice, yam, garri, fish, palm-oil and groundnut-oil as well as perishable items have risen beyond traders’ expectation as buyers lament bitterly.
The Eid-El-Kabir celebration is the second of the Muslim/Islamic holidays celebrated annually. The festival marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is that celebration that honors the prophet Ibrahim’s selflessness and willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.
To commemorate this occasion, Muslims all over the world slaughter domestic animals, especially rams. Traditionally, the meat is shared with friends and relations and with the less-privileged in the society. As the festival draws near, food prices have continued to soar and this has become a serious concern for all in various markets across the state.
At the market lately, there is really nothing different happening to show that Eid-El-Kabir is here. Some goods that are on display are quite expensive and others in the shop are short in supply.
Also, the cost price of perishables has risen and traders are worried as it has affected the purchasing power of buyers.
The sellers decry increment in the cost price of perishables especially onion. In their opinion, the cost price of the goods is not influenced by the Salah celebration but the seasonal factor and the pandemic.
A trader who sells perishables said: “Before now, the cost price of tomato and pepper had increase due to coronavirus pandemic which has affected farmers as well as harvest of some goods in turn leading to low supply of the goods. The Salah affected their prices a bit, looking at it critically but that is not really the issue because prior to this period, their prices fluctuate.
“Right now, there is increased supply of the Yoruba tomatoes that is watery and the supply of the Jos and Benue tomato is low even with onion. This is different with pepper as the usual ones that are supplied and often tastes peppery is low and the unusual ones are being supplied in large quantity, they don’t taste too peppery.
“This period, onion is very expensive and its gradually going out of season especially the dry one; the new onion is not preferred by most buyers but with the current state of the market, the supply of the old onion would be very low in weeks to come and the new one would be high but as at now, the cost price of a bag of onion increased by over ten percent as a bag that sells from N10,000 and N15,000 upwards now cost N30,000 while the big ones had risen to over N40,000 naira per bag as against its old price of N25,000 upwards. A bag that are sold to us ae mixed with the small sized and the big-sized onion.
“This year Salah celebrations will be on a low key for many due to the effect of the pandemic on the economy that has affected the cost of living and income of the people in general resulting to a reduction in the level of purchasing of the buyers in the market.”
The turnout of buyers at Mile 12 international market, Mile 12, Lagos lately is large yet traders complain of low profit after daily sales.
In their opinion, most buyers are shopping for the celebration so as to avoid spending double during the Salah celebrations while others are shopping for their present needs.
A buyer at the market, who was seen trying to get a good bargain from a perishable dealer, expressed her surprise at the level of increment in the cost price of goods adding that most buyers only come to the market when the need arises.
“The cost price of goods is a big surprise to so many buyers now because it was not expected. Goods that were sold in previous weeks at affordable prices have risen by over five percent. Now, some buyers had to buy within their means as some ran out of cash and others rush down to the bank to make more withdrawal so as to be able to shop for most important items.
“I’m confused on the ‘why’ of the recent development. Why would we have rising cost price of local goods in the country at this critical time? Well, one cannot really say the Salah celebrations has led to the increment in the cost price of the goods rather the COVID-19 has made our existence a daily struggle as it has affected the economy and businesses to a large extent resulting to a drop in cash or income because we are all affected to an extent as well.
“For one to survive now in the country is a huge task; when you continue spending money and you are not getting a return or saving the ones you get, then there will be problem. We just hope things would change in months ahead, it has not been easy for most traders. The coronavirus would not affect the Salah celebrations because it is a practice and an Islamic activity; the only difference would be that some Islamic faithful’s would celebrate with just their reach that is the people present with them at the moment,” The buyer expressed.
For a cloth dealer at Idumota market, Idumota, Lagos sales this period is slow but a sure one too as the coronavirus pandemic had affected physical activity as well as religious gathering which would have prompt the purchase of fabrics and other materials to be worn during the celebration.
The fabric seller at the market stated that: “The market situation is alarming and for us selling fabrics and other clothing materials, we have alternative for our buyers; we have fabrics that appeals to almost everyone because your finance determines the fabric you would purchase.
“We offer our fabrics and materials at wholesale prices and I can tell you that for the Salah celebrations, we are not making huge sales because of the ban on religious gatherings but we have buyers who still want to look good on Salah day and also buyers who purchase fabrics to gift their loved ones for the celebrations.
“One strategy we have adopted as traders is that we convince our buyers to go for the best and if they cannot afford such, we give them alternative materials of good quality at affordable prices so they can come back to patronize us.
“We have quality fabrics from as low as N2,000, N3,000 and N5,000 and we sell higher from N10,000 upwards; depending on the material and the design or pattern of the fabric or material one is ordering for now. The interesting thing is that, the affordable fabrics often come out beautiful and loved by most buyers.
“Buyers shop for fabrics but not like in previous years. As a Muslim faithful, the pandemic would only affect the manner and way of how we live but won’t stop us from celebrating Salah this year in anyway; we would only celebrate according to our financial status and social class, we have embraced the new reality already.”
A trader who sells ladies slippers at the same market decry poor sales attributing it to the poor economic situation in the country and the coronavirus pandemic few days before Salah celebrations.
In a chat with Legit.ng she revealed the cost price of the goods she sells and how the turnout of buyers lately has affected the business. Although the turnout of buyers was high yet no good profit recorded, she added.
The trader said: “As long as there is increasing number of cases of the COVID-19 in Nigeria and beyond, the Salah celebrations would be observed but in a cautious manner with no large gathering due to the restrictions put in place to flatten the curve.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the cost price of goods, not only the imported goods but the locally manufactured goods. The cost of purchase for most goods fluctuates. At a particular time, they would fall and at a particular time, they would rise.
“For ladies shoes, heels, slippers and sandals, bags and purse, their cost of purchase are influenced by the design, quality of materials used and the brand. Right now, the cost of purchase for these items; some increased by two percent, some, three percent and others five percent. For slippers, the ones that cost N1,000 and N1,500 before is sold now from N1,700 upwards and N2,000 upwards as some are sold from N2,500. For sandal heels, the ones that are sold from N2,500 before, now cost N3,500 while shoes are sold from N2,000 upwards.”
Surprisingly, the cost price of groundnut-oil has increased by over five percent again. Dealers informed that the celebrations did not influence the cost price of the goods rather the pandemic as supply is still quite low even as the celebrations draws nearer.
The trader who hails from the northern part of the country told our correspondent that: “Now, businesses are struggling and some have crumbled due to the effect of COVID-19. As it is, the prices of goods rise and it is not due to the Salah celebrations rather the usual practice of our suppliers who hoard goods during the festive season.
“The cost price of the refill oil has increase again, and this week 25-litre of groundnut-oil is sold from N13,500 upwards as against its old price of N12,000 upwards while the branded ones are sold from N14,000 upwards again. The traders have no choice than to sell at the above cost price so as not to end up in debt after daily sales.
“Palm-oil only increased a bit as 25-litre of good quality one is sold from N12,000 upwards as against its old price of N11,500 but other ones that are produced locally are more expensive. But we are glad with the level of sales so far,” A palm-oil seller who hails from the northern region of the country.
Meanwhile, some traders reacting to poor sales and harsh economic, disclosed to Legit.ng that despite the instability in prices of goods, their mood for the celebration.
A fruit seller at Jakande market, Ketu, Lagos expressed dissatisfaction over the scarcity of some fruits as well as the increment in the cost price of others, but stated that they have no option than to celebrate come Salah.
The fruit seller communicated thus: “Some fruits in the market are very expensive now due to short supply. In fact, suppliers who manage to scale through to the market recently, hike the cost price of their goods and in turn only few traders who are able to afford such goods, purchase also in few quantities this therefore affect the cost price of such items.
“Even corn that is in its season is very expensive due to the issues surrounding their transportation from other neighbouring states to Lagos market. For fruits like oranges, they are now very expensive same with pineapple and banana because they are gradually going out of season but the ones that are in season are very affordable; fruits like golden melon, cucumber and water melon.
“Transporting the goods from the farm to the market is very difficult and not easy now as some farmers are not even working and the ones who have managed to work, harvesting and carriage is quite difficult because of the security challenges in the northern region of the country. A lot is happening in the country and the world at large but it won’t stop us from living and so, we are going to celebrate Salah this year despite the pandemic; it might not be in an elaborate way but we will rejoice to Allah for Life.”
Similarly, food items dealer decry fluctuation in the cost price of food items. According to a seller at the market, the economic situation has led to increment in the cost price of some food items now and the Salah celebrations is another factor.
“It is the usual norm in the country that during every festive period, there is increment in the cost of purchase of some goods in the market. Interestingly, suppliers see this period as an opportunity to hoard the goods that are in high demand, making it difficult for traders to purchase such goods. This is why some buyers come to the market a week or two weeks before the celebration commence proper.
“The cost of food items is a bit higher this week; for rice, a 50kg of local rice is sold from N20,000 and N21,000 while the ones with stones are sold from N19,000 downwards. But for beans, a bag of olotu beans is sold from N33,000 upwards as against its old price of N30,000. Garri maintained stability in prices as the small bag of garri (white) cost N14,000 while the small bag of garri yellow is sold from N13,000 upwards but the big-sized bag of garri is sold from N20,000.
“This period, we make sales but on a lower level as you can see the market is a bit scanty; you can easily count the buyers here. It does not look like Salah is near but we are hopeful of better sales in days ahead as some buyers who do last minute rushing would come around. Now, buyers purchase goods at a very low quantity because they spend more to get some goods now and some buyers prefer already cooked meals, to them it is cheaper and stress free. The recent happenings cannot hinder the mood of the Islamic faithful’s all over the world rather they would celebrate Salah in a cautious manner,” The rice seller disclosed to our correspondent.
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