Prices of some foodstuffs have increased in major markets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as Christmas approaches.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who correspondents visited markets such as Wuse, Utako, Garki and Dutseon Friday observed that prices of food items such as rice, tomatoes, onions, peppers more than doubled.
At Wuse market, a 50kg basket of tomatoes which went for N5, 000 two weeks ago, is now selling for between N12, 000 and N18, 000.
A 100kg bag of pepper increased from N5, 000 to N10, 000, while the dustbin basket sells at N1, 900, depending on the availability of the products in the market by the transporters.
At both Utako and Garki markets, a bag of crayfish previously sold for between N45, 000 and N50, 000 now goes for N85, 000 to N90, 000, while a bag of Ogbono increased from N70, 000 to N150, 000.
Our correspondent also observed that prices of items such as beans, garri, groundnut oil, palm oil and “tatashe’’ are still the same in most of the markets.
A 50kg of foreign rice, which was previously sold for N15, 800 is now N18, 500 and the locally produced rice now sells for between N15, 000 to N17, 500 depending on brands in all the markets.
A beans seller, Mrs Floxy Mgbodi, at Wuse market said that there was no increase in beans because “it is in season’’. ‘
“A lot of beans you see today have just been harvested directly from the farm.’’
According to her, the price difference between the locally produced rice and imported one is not too much as the local ones have become too expensive.
She called for the urgent intervention from the government to address the frequent increase prices of food items, especially in during festive periods.
Similarly, Mr Jerome Onewokae, a buyer at Wuse Market appealed to the Federal Government to regulate the prices of food items, especially during festive period, adding that the exploitation by traders needed to be checked.
“During the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, we used to buy 50kg rice for between N9, 000 and N9, 500.
“But now, locally produced rice is between N16, 000 and N17, 000. Tell me, why is this high cost?
“It is not as if there is increase in fuel. Why should prices of goods, especially foodstuff increase this much.
“What I think the government should do is to regulate the prices of food items, especially the food we consume on a daily basis such as rice, beans, garri.’’
However, Alhaji Babagidan Aliyu, a dealer of food items at Dutse market said that the increase in some food items had nothing to do with the Christmas celebration but some internal factors, which needed to be addressed.
He appealed to the government to create an enabling environment for traders of perishable goods by providing storage facilities in order to reduce losses.
Alhaji Abubakar Shehu, a fruit seller and Alhaji Kwakwaso Rabiu, the President, Perishable Food Seller all said they counted their losses on a daily basis because of lack of facility to preserve their leftover items.
They expressed hope that better days for traders would come, however called on the government to assist farmers with inputs such as fertiliser and encourage farmers on all year round farming through irrigation to enhance their productivity.
Mr Yusuf Ahmed, a foodstuff seller at Dutse Market, told NAN that business strive more during festive periods because many people want to join in the celebration.
“Buyers procure more items like yams, rice, gari, yam flour, beans and some other food items, but they buy small quantity whenever there is increase in prices.
“ I used to sell two to three bags of rice, one bag of beans, 30 tubes of yam and a bag of garri daily; but now, I hardly sell quarter of this amount.
“But we this festive season, I believe my business will pick up again,’’ Ahmed said.
Another food seller at Utako market, Mr Muhammad Abubakar said he was always happy each time the prices of goods increase because he would take advantage of the situation to make more profits.
“I usually add to the prices of my goods during this period because I see it as an opportunity to sell because either there is money in circulation or not, buyers cannot do without the food.’’
Mrs Jumai Idrisu, a buyer, said she usually bought her all foodstuffs for the whole month whenever she received her salary.
“ I do buy all my family needs ahead of this period because it is cheaper that way and most of them that sell perishable items want to dispose their items before they get spoil,’’ she said.
“For instance, the 10 tubes of yams that I bought for N2, 000 is now being sold for N3, 500 or more, and a bags of rice also slightly increased by N2,000 to N18,000.
Miss Immaculate Uzoma, a trader at Utako market lamented that the increase in some food items had affected her business as customers had reduced the quantity of what they bought.