Nigerians groan as prices of foodstuffs skyrocket

Nigerians have continued to lament the continuous increase in the prices of foodstuffs in markets.

In Lagos State, the prices of some items have gone up by as much as 50 per cent. Costs of virtually all essential goods and services have gone through the roof.

Saturday Tribune, during the week, conducted a survey at various markets in Lagos to ascertain the situation and find out how Lagosians are coping.

At Ile-Epo Market located in the Agbado area, along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, which is renowned for the availability of yam, beans, rice, potatoes, among others, in large quantities, traders and buyers lamented that the food items have become too expensive for most people to buy.

At the market, it was found that a bag of parboiled rice, popularly referred to as Aroso, now went for N20,000 as against the N18,000 it was a few weeks ago, while a bag of another parboiled rice brand, Agric, had shot to N18,500 from N16,000.

Saturday Tribune’s itinerary also covered a section meant for onion sellers most of whom are from the northern part of the country. There, it was discovered that a bag of new onions cost N26,000, a significant rise from its old price of N18, 000, just a bag of old onions cost an average of N34,500, having been jacked up from N27,000. Similarly, a bag of dry pepper (new one) cost N30,000, whereas it used to go for N15,000. A 25-litre keg of palm oil was sold at between N15,500 and N16,000, as against its recent price of N13,000.

Beans, another staple food for a lot of Nigerians, went for 38,000 per bag of the popular Oloyin brand, as against the old price of N22,000. A bag of garri, arguably the commonest staple food in the South-West region of the country, was now N24,000 as against N18,000 which it stood at only a few weeks back. The yellow garri was now N23,000. It used to be N18,000.

The market is also known for its wide array of yams of different sizes and shapes. Medium-sized five tubers of yam could be bought for N5,000 as against their old price of N2,000.

The situation was pretty much the same in other markets visited by Saturday Tribune, including the popular Ketu-Mile 12 Market in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. At the market, prices of fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, orange, plantain and banana, which the market is known to have in abundance, had recorded marginal increase. Similarly, at the market, a basket of pepper (rodo) now cost a buyer, who would have got it for N5000 a few weeks ago, N7000-N8000. A basket of ‘Hausa tomatoes’ had risen significantly from N8,000 to N12,000 in a very short period.

The prices of basic condiments and confectioneries had also gone up considerably in all the markets visited, including the Daddy Savage in the Iju area of the city. It was noted that prices of commodities like tomato paste, spaghetti, seasonings and cooking oil had equally been jacked up.

A trader in such items, identified simply as Mrs Ifeanyinwa, claimed that people had been ill at ease because they had been finding it increasingly difficult to even raise enough money to restock their shops. She disclosed that she used to buy a carton of a popular tomato paste brand for around N6,500 but now the price was N7,500.

A carton of a popular brand of seasoning, which used to cost N5,500, she added, now went for N6,500, while all brands of spaghetti had shot from an average of N3,200 per carton to over N4,000.

At the fish section of the market, the price of a carton of Titus fish had jumped to N30,000 from N12,000. A carton of Kote fish used to be sold at N8,000 but now it cost N15, 000, while a carton of Croaker fish now attracted N25,000, and not N14,000 anymore.

Many traders have associated the development to the current economic drawback in the country, a situation which, they said, has been worsened by government’s economic policy, particularly as it affects import duties.

“My brother, things are not looking up at all. Many of us are struggling ever day to make meaningful sales. If we don’t sell, how do we restock? How do we feed our families and take care of other responsibilities? Everything is dull,” a trader, Mr Segun Sebiola, who sells bags of rice at Ile-Epo Market, said.

Similarly, Mrs Badru Oyeyemi, a fruit seller at Mile 12 Market, said she was barely able to buy half as much fruits as she would normally buy. According to her, the development is as a product of increase in the prices of fruits brought in from the North. “Foodstuffs like tomatoes, pepper and onions come from the North, which, as we all know, is very far from here. Those bringing the fruits often mention high cost of growing those crops over there and huge cost of their transportation to the South as some of the factors responsible for the increase in their prices,” she said.

Her claim was corroborated by another trader at Ile-Epo Market, Abdulfaitai, who deals in tomatoes. He said: “Currently, because they are perishable goods, the prices of tomatoes, peppers, vegetables and fruits are not supposed to be expensive, but what often adds to their costs are issues bordering on transportation. At times, we will go home without making any sales. Things have changed for the worse. This suffering is too much; people are hungry and there is no money. This is what the government has turned us into”.