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Prices of vegetables, tubers increase — NAN Survey

fruitPrices of tomatoes, pepper and some other foodstuffs have increased in the major cities across the country with the commencement of Ramadan, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has revealed.

A market survey conducted by NAN on Thursday in some cities showed that there was a significant increase in the prices of yam, potatoes, beans and onions while the prices of rice has remained stable.

NAN also gathered that the prices of frozen food, meat and fish have remained stable as they still sell the same prices since the beginning of the year.

Some of the traders and customers attributed the increase in the prices of the food items to scarcity of the items, rainy season and the commencement of the Ramadan.

A check by NAN correspondent to Wuse Market in the FCT showed that a big basket of tomatoes now goes for N23, 000, as against N15, 000, while the small basket now sells for N2, 500 against N600.

Similarly, there is increase in the price of yam as five tubers of big yams, which was selling for N1, 500 before now sells for N2, 200.

Malam Nuhu Abu, a yam seller, attributed the increase of the price to the scarcity of the item, adding that old yams are very scarce and new yams will soon be out.

He said that new yam would start coming out from June/July and by August it would have been surplus in the markets.

At Utako and Garki Markets in the FCT, there was also increase in the price of vegetable, pepper and yam while the prices of basic food items have remained stable.

Malam Isiaka Ado, a tomatoes seller in the market, said that vegetables had become scarce because the item is seasonal, adding that rains do affect tomatoes yields.

“Before, we were selling a small basket of pepper at N500, but now it is selling between N1, 500 and N1, 600, but for onions, the price remain the same.’’

The survey further showed that the prices of basic food items such as rice, palm oil and vegetable oil have been stable in both Utako, Garki and Wuse Markets in FCT.

A bag of Mama Gold and Stallion brand rice sold for N8, 500 while a bag of Garri sells for N7, 000 and a 25-litre of palm oil costs N7, 500.

In addition, a four- litre keg of vegetable oil sold between N2, 000 and N1, 300 depending on the brand.

Meanwhile, NAN correspondent, who visited some markets in Ilorin and Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara, also observed similarly trend as prices of pepper and tomatoes have gone up.

A big basket of tomatoes now sells for N25, 000 from the old price of between N10, 000 and N12, 000, while the small basket now goes for N13, 000.

A small cup of tomatoes which hitherto sells for N300 sells for N500 while the price of a big basket of pepper is now N10, 000 as against the former price of N6, 000.

The survey further revealed that the prices of other ingredients and food items like onions, groundnut oil, wheat, rice, yam flour, garri and beans, however, have remained stable.

Mrs Moriam Abdulkareem in Omu-Aran, a pepper and tomatoes dealer said there was no alternative to the new price as the sudden increase emanated from the dealers from the North.

Mrs Risikat Abeeb, a civil servant, said the problem was more compounded following the non-payment of salaries for the past three months.

“The price increased is something expected by the Muslims because of the Ramadan, but the major problem is the non payment of our salaries for the past three months,” she said.

In Bokkos, Plateau state, a survey showed that prices of Potatoes, tomatoes have increased by 150 per cent in major markets visited at the Local Government Area in the state.

A bag of Irish Potatoes that used to sale for between N5, 000 and N6, 000 now goes for between N16, 000 and N17, 000.

Similarly a basket of tomatoes that used to sell for between 1, 500 and N2, 000 now goes for between N4, 500 and N5, 000 in the markets.

Mr Samuel Mallo, Chairman, Traders and marketers Association, Mai-katako Market Chapter, Bokkos Local Government, blamed the hike on this year’s late arrival of the rain.

“The late arrival of rainfall as experienced this year greatly contributed to the hike in prices of Irish Potatoes and tomatoes in both Bokkos and Mangu Local Governments at this material time.

“All the potatoes you see being sold in Mai-katako market today are irrigated ones and not the seasonal ones, which led to the hike in its price, “ he explained.

According to Mallo, under normal circumstances, it was expected that around this time, the seasonal varieties should be in the markets and at a cheaper rate.

Also in Kano, Malam Nuhu Usman, a potatoes dealer in the state lamented the hike in the price of the commodity, which he said has affected his purchasing power.

“I used to buy between 150 and 200 bags at times like this, but I am not sure whether I can afford to buy 35 bags of Irish Potatoes today, “ Usman lamented.

Usman, however, expressed worry over the increase in the price of the item with the commencement of the Ramadan, noting that the price may further increase due to likely increase in demand.

Similarly, Mr Akilu Sani, a Potatoes dealer in Katsina, said he would only buy 15 bags of Potatoes out of the 30 bags he used to buy whenever he comes to Mai-katako or Bokkos markets.

In the same vein, the survey shows an increase in the prices of vegetables in Lagos, while there was slight increase in prices of basic food items.

The survey revealed that a big basket of tomatoes which sold for N15, 000 last week at the Mile 12, Iddo and Whitesand markets now sells for N28, 000.

A medium-sized basket of fresh pepper (tatashe) now costs N11, 000.00, from N10, 000, while a basket of chili pepper (rodo) goes for N20, 000.00, as against the N13, 000 it sold for in the previous week.

However, the price of a bag of onions dropped from N12, 500 to its previous price of N9, 000.

A 20-litre keg of vegetable oil goes for N6, 300 as against N6, 200 while the price of garri still remains as the small basin sells for N300.

The traders, however, attributed the increase in prices of some food items to high cost of transportation, the lingering fuel scarcity and off season for perishable food items.

Mr Femi Odusanya, Spokesman of the Mile 12 Traders Association urged the Federal Government to invest more in the agricultural sector by establishing more mechanised farms.

“Government at all levels needed to invest more in mechanised farming because most of the food items in the markets are cultivated by peasant farmers.

“Mechanised farming will make farm produce to be available in large quantities even in their off seasons and the prices will not be ridiculously expensive,” he said.

In addition, Alhaji Mohammed Tijani, a beans seller, attributed the increase in the price of beans to the ongoing planting season, and increased demand for the item because of Ramadan.

“Price of beans keeps increasing because of its high demand against the Ramadan period.

“A lot of families are purchasing it for the purpose of making moi-moi or akara to break their fast in the evening.

“More so, there is reduced supply of beans to the market because farmers are not harvesting but planting now,” he said.

NAN reports that most customers seen at the markets decried the sharp increase in the cost of food items and the reduced quantity of items displayed in the market.

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