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Published On: Mon, May 16th, 2016

Nigerians Groan as Food Stuff Prices Goes Up By 200%

FOOD
LAGOS MAY 16TH (URHOBOTODAY)-What is happening in Nigeria with respect to high cost prices of food stuff would make one to think back to Fela Kuti song titled, “ Suffering and smiling”.
Rreally, Nigerians are suffering but still smiling hoping for when it will be good. Righ now the cost of living has gone up by almost 200%, since President Buhari`s reigns commenced.
As previously published, going by recent market survey in May 2016, cost of living in Nigeria has skyrocketed. The survey shows the current prices of some food stuffs like; Rice (50kg bag) N18,000. Tomato (Basket) N6,000 and Garri (Basin) N3,500.

Compared to price of food in March 2016, the difference is an alarming 200% . Taking Abuja and its environs, as an example, a large basket of tomatoes which before now sold for N2, 500 at the popular orange market, now sells between N38,000 and N40, 000. The smaller basket known as the dustbin basket which sold for between N400 and N500 in March now sells for between N4, 300 and N6,000 in some markets.
A mudu of garri sold for N150 before, now goes for N300 while a bag of rice is no longer N9,500 the price doubled, it’s now N18, 000 the average Nigerian can no longer have easy access to most essential commodities.
A tomato seller at the Wuse Market, Mallam Suleiman Aminu, commented that the high cost was as a result of delayed rainfall, he stressed that most traders depended on the irrigation farmers for the supply of farm produce like tomatoes, pepper and vegetables, in the country.
According to him, “Due to the high population of people in Nigeria, the quantity we have is not able to meet up with the high demand of the product and like we all know, when supply is low, demand will be high and that is what is causing increase in price.”
Our source gathered during a market survey that in view of the high cost of essential goods and commodities, there had been low patronage.
“The price changes every day. Last week the same basket was sold for N3,500, and this week it has risen to N4000. It is a very tough situation.”
Change in rain pattern has been named the major reason for the price increase.
“Tomato is generally a dry season vegetable. ?hen heavy rains starts the vegetable gets rotten on the farms, which generally affects supply.
“It means that many retailers or wholesalers could go directly to the farms but will not get much, and may be forced to purchase at outrageous prices out of desperation,” noted an observer.
Another trader at the marked,Mallam Ibrahim Abubarkar, inferred that high demand and the lack of rain fall are reasons for the rising cost of beef, he reiterates that when rain falls the grass is green and the cattle would be well fed, but with the delay in rainfall, the herdsmen would have to look for their feeds from other sources to ensure that the animals are fit, which in effect expensive .
“The price of beef has increased because before now, we used to by a cow for N200,000 or N250, 000, but now it is sold for N300,000 and that is why we now sell a kilo of meat for N1200, against N800. You should also know that the population can also determine the level of your business. We sellers can easily identify our major customers” he concluded.
Mrs. Funmi Akindele a consumer who shops at Wuse Market has described the high cost of food as “worrisome.”
She Lamented, “The increase of food prices is beginning to be a worrisome situation as there is no money in the country. So because of the high demand for the commodities, things are so difficult these days”
Residents of Port Harcourt are not left out too as prices of food stuff is on the increase daily in the state .
Ijeoma a Port Harcourt resident complained:
“In fact, the most important thing now is how to feed before you think of pleasure.”
A petty trader addressed as Ngozi said that a bag of rice previously sold for N12,000 is now N15,000 in Port Harcourt while a basin of garri which sold for N1200 is now N3500.
She further said a rubber of fresh tomatoes formaly sold for N1,000 is now N2500.
“With this, we now sell a cup of rice for N80, whole rubber is N1300. Fresh tomatoes that we used to measure for N100 is now N200 while a rubber of garri that we sold for N200 is now N400,” she said.
At the popular Kara Market, in Sokoto a basket of tomatoes which used to be N1,000 is now for N5, 500.
In the same vain ,bag of onions which sold for N4, 000 now sells for between N10, 000 and N15, 000.
A meat seller at the Kasuwan Nama Market, Musa Altine, noted that the high cost of meat was because of the increase in transportation fair.
“Prices of the meat have gone up because of the high demand for them and the high cost of fuel nationwide.
“The truth of the matter is that the prices will remain like this until things stabilise,” he said.
Mrs A’i Garba, a house wife, described the high cost of food as alarming.
“Increase in the prices of food items is getting worse by the day and that should not be.
“The government’s agency in charge of price regulation should do something about this,” she demanded.
It is of note that, a bag of rice which sold for between N9, 000 and N10, 000 now sells at between N16,000 and N18,000 while a rubber of garri sold for N300 now sells at N600.
in view of the on going economic hardship across the country, residents of Asaba, the Delta State capital, are also lamenting due to the persistent high cost of foodstuffs in the market.
Going by a market survey carried out by Huhuonline.com on the skyrocketing cost of foodstuffs, in Asaba, a 50kg bag of rice formally sold for N12,000 is currently sold at N15,500 and one little bucket of rice now goes for N1,500.
A little bucket of beans is now N700 while one carton of three litres of groundnut oil which usually sold at N6,000 now sells at N8,500, not only that,one big basket of fresh tomatoes sold at N5,000 is now N30,000.
A carton of turkey which was N9,500 is now N10,100 and one carton of chicken that was sold at N8,000 now sells at N9,000. One kilo of turkey is now sold at N1,100 while a kilo of chicken is now N9,050.
Onion is by far the cheapest in the market as of now, one bag of onions which was sold at N10,000 is now N6,500.
Mr. Hyginus Nweze who sells staple food items such as rice, beans and garri at Iyana-Ipaja Market in Lagos, said the high prices have reduced patronage as a bag of rice, depending on the brand, which was between N11, 000 and N12,000 is now about N13,000 and N13,500.
He said the price of garri which stood N6,200 last month now goes for about N7,300 while the price of beans has not changed N15,000.
Mrs. Lateefat Ayobami a pepper seller noted that a basket of tomatoes which sold for between N18,000 to N20,000 in April now goes for N35,000-N40,000 and a small bag of pepper is now N7,000.
Many different factors have been blamed for this high costs.
Timi Ekpo from Bayelsa a beef trader in Swali market attributed the high cost of beef to the high demand of the commodity and the dollar rate, also blaming the poor condition of the road from the abattoir to the markets.
Economic experts said the situation in place is a sign of a crunching inflation that is hovering over the country.
Data obtained from the Bureau of Statistics indicates that Nigerian inflation has moved to double digit since the first quarter this year.
Consumer prices increased in March by 2.2 percent over the previous month, which was a notch below February’s 2.3 percent increase. The National Bureau of Statistics, stated that the month-on-month increase mainly reflected higher prices for imported food, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels as well as for food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Inflation in March jumped from February’s 11.4 percent to 12.8 percent.
This represented the highest rate since July 2012 and overshot the 11.8 percent that market analysts had expected. In view of this, annual average inflation ticked up from February’s 9.4 percent to 9.8 percent in March, thereby reaching a nearly three-year high.
Core consumer prices, which exclude farm produce and energy prices, rose 1.6 percent in March over the previous month, which matched the result collated in February. Core inflation rose from 9.5 percent in February to 10.3 percent in March.
Investigations from across the country shows that price of consumer goods especially food stuffs and agricultural produce has gone up.
Persistent fuel and insecurity that has rocked the country, has been named the culprit behind the increasing inflation particularly in the consumer prices.

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