- Normalcy is gradually returning back in most part of the state, few days after the EndSars protest was suspended
- For some business owners, they are counting their losses and others; they are trying to get back on track in terms of business even as the business environment is gradually picking up
- This week, Legit.ng visited the market to find out the current cost price of goods in the market
Just when traders’ thought they have seen it all especially with recent happenings in the country, the increment in the cost price of perishables becomes an issue of concern to business owners in the state.
With the ease of the curfew by the state government, activities in the market environment have resumed partially not fully as some traders are still not back in business as expected.
Some businesses have suffered major setback following violent attacks by hoodlums on most businesses and other establishments in the state, but this week at a popular market in Lagos, Legit.ng seek to find out the present cost price of goods few days after the EndSars protest was suspended.
The market was filled with the presence of buyers but not all traders are seen busy with buyers as some were scouting for buyers by the roadside within the market area. This for sure would be the case for a while as job loss rises daily over series of happenings in the country resulting to low income and reduction in the purchasing power of buyers'.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed the increment in virtually all the goods in the market except for food items like rice, beans and garri whose prices are stable. A rice dealer at the market gave a hint on the recent cost price of the food items.
He said: “Happenings so far in the country influenced to a large extent the increment in the cost price of most goods in the market. The economy is also a major factor. As at now, rice, beans and garri are still maintaining their previous price. One thing that makes a difference is that, some sellers add to the cost price of the goods so as to make extra profit, due to the high cost of transportation from neighbouring state .
“A small bag of garri (yellow) cost N13,000 and some sell from N13,500 while a bag of garri (white) cost N14,000, as the bag is bigger than the bag of yellow garri. Oloyin beans is packed in a small bag and it is sold from N21,000 as against its old price of N19,000 below. A bag of olotu beans cost N29,000 and N30,000 and oloone cost N35,000.
“For rice, it is still very expensive and beyond the reach of most buyers. The cost price of foreign rice now is given at N30,000 while the local rice is sold from N24,000 upwards; the ones that are neatly packed without stones. But the local rice that contains stones are still sold from N19,000 upwards. Some buyers who want to feed well but are not with enough cash at the market, purchase the rice without stones in small quantities.
“So, the situation we find ourselves this period is a tough one but we are grateful to God and the government especially the Lagos state government who is up and doing. It is not easy but the governments are working and are trying but we will only plead for more efforts from them because business is not the same again after all that has happened in the country in a short while.”
Well, the aftermath of the protests in the country so far has not been a palatable one; with the hoodlums invading warehouses, carting away goods from warehouses, the effect of these happenings are still being felt by both buyers and traders in the market, one way or the other.
Now, some goods in the market are scarce due to the violence in some state within the country and the coronavirus pandemic. For goods like groundnut-oil, the imported ones are sold at reasonable prices while the ones produced here are not, as informed by traders’.
A palm-oil seller at the market complains about the recent increment in the cost of purchase of groundnut-oil, according to her, it increased by over five percent now and it affects the cost of purchase of some buyers’.
“The border closure and the pandemic was a huge factor that has contributed to the increment in the cost price of groundnut-oil but the violent attacks in recent times also added to the issues on ground. Palm-oil and groundnut-oil that are imported from neighbouring countries are very affordable but the locally produced ones are expensive hence traders’ opt for imported ones, so they can purchase and resell to buyers and make good profit.
“Recently, the cost price of groundnut-oil increased same with palm-oil and all the manufacturers as well as distributors could not give us good reasons why the cost of purchase rises further; because it was expensive before but not as it is now. A 25-litre of palm oil that cost N11,000 and N11,500 before, now cost N14,000 and N14,500 while 25-litre of groundnut-oil cost N18,000 and N18,500, for branded ones as refill is scarce.
“This increment pose a major challenge to our business especially in terms of purchasing powers of buyers; some buyers who don’t have an idea of the new cost price, when they come to make an order, they are surprised with the new price as most cannot go with the usual quantity of purchase, due to limited cash in hand, this affects us as traders in the market here,” The palm-oil seller informed.
Surprisingly, onion and tomato seller are faced with the tough decisions to still continue business this period, as the cost of purchase for the items increased drastically.
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of tomato in the world, yet the country struggles to meet to up with the local demand of the produce due to poor transportation network and storage facilities.
Tomato crop does not fare well during rainy season as it is the season most farmers plant the crop. The prices of onion and tomato now has surge in markets across the state.
But this period, apart from the above factors, seasonal changes in weather, the coronavirus pandemic and the security issues in neighbouring states wherein the crop is grown, has led to the increment in the cost price of the produce in the market now, same with onion apart from the ones that are imported.
The sellers lament poor patronage as some who could not afford fresh tomatoes opt to sell processed ones, the tomato paste; leading to increment in its cost price as well.
A seller at the market in a chat with our correspondent informed the increment did not only affect the patronage but the supply as well.
He stated thus: “It is very difficult for tomato sellers’ to carry out their activities this period because the cost of purchase is higher than expected. It is not only tomatoes that is expensive, all the goods in the market are very expensive now because suppliers' are lamenting over the increment in the cost of bringing the goods from others states to the market here; they are not finding it easy as well. Most traders’ have resolve to sell the watery ones rather than the fresh round shaped ones from Jos, Benue and other northern states where they are grown.
“Tomato and onion are expensive now because it is planting season and other factors makes the supply lower. A basket of tomatoes that was sold from N10,000 before, has risen to N25,000 and N30,000 upwards while the watery ones are sold from N7,000 and N8,000 upwards per basket. A bag of dry onion cost N60,000 and now some sell from N80,000, while the new onion cost N40,000 and N50,000 per bag. But for pepper, a small bag cost N10,000 and the big bag cost N20,000.
“Traders who cannot purchase these goods opt for processed ones like tomato paste that have also become very expensive due to high cost of processing and high demand by buyers now and other sellers purchase watery tomatoes to resell so as to stay in the business; this is cheaper and available. Due to the recent change in their cost price, patronage has dropped but we make sales from loyal customers as there is a difference between fresh tomatoes and the processed one.”
Similarly, there’s been increment in the cost price of ogbono same with egusi but crayfish is still very affordable. In an interview with a trader, he shared with Legit.ng the current price of ogbono, egusi and crayfish in the market.
Expressing satisfaction over the gradual phase of business now and hopeful of better sales, the trader opined: “The demand for foodstuff items is more than other food items as most buyers prefer to consume such meals than the usual meal; they prefer strong meal owing to the fact that it is satisfying and more economical to prepare.
“This period, ogbono is very expensive same with egusi (handpeel) while the machine peel is quite affordable. Now, a bag of ogbono is sold from N100,000 upwards and a bag of egusi (handpeel) cost N65,000 but some sell below from N60,000 while a bag of egusi (machine) is sold from N38,000 and N40,000 upwards and some sell theirs from N50,000 upwards. A big nylon of crayfish is sold from N18,000 upwards as against its old price of N28,000.
“Patronage is encouraging as we sell to hoteliers, restaurant owners, caterers and more. A lot has happened in the country especially in Lagos state in the past weeks but we are back in business; it is a gradual process but we will scale through this phase again.”
In another development, sweet potato is one food item in the market whose supply keeps rising on a daily basis making it very affordable and available; despite its affordability, sellers' lament poor sales.
A seller who pleaded anonymity said: “ The cost of purchase of potato is rising gradually now compare to previous weeks but it is still sold at affordable prices due to the current supply in market but we are not making good sales. You can get potato for as low as N100 but some buyers would plead for more reduction in cost price complaining of low cash.
“The major problem for us now is storage issue; when we do not sell on time, it gets bad resulting to loss on our part. This is one major reason why we sell at a very cheap price and in large quantity yet business is very dull and we are not making profit after the days activity.”
Also, vegetables in the market especially pumpkin leave have become very expensive as the cost price is doubled and the quantity offered for sale reduced but the vegetables in season like water leaf and okra are very affordable.
As it is now, state governments in the country in a bid to further protect the lives and properties of the people and to restore law and order imposes curfew even as they seek ways for things to return to normalcy with partnership by security agencies.
EndSars protest: Enough is enough, let them be dismissed - Market woman cries out via Legit TV