– Amidst recession, the prices of basic food items have crashed as the festive season draws near
– A survey conducted by NAIJ.com at Ile-Epo market, Abule-Egba, Lagos, reveals the reduction in the price of rice, beans, garri and other perishable goods
– Traders ascribe this to the availability of the food items occasioned by the season
Amidst the recession Nigeria is presently battling, the prices of some basic food items have crashed.
The rise in the price of the commodities came after President Muhammadu Buhari said he was disturbed by how people tend to make brisk profits by increasing the prices of food and fruits at times like this.
A survey conducted by NAIJ.com at Ile-Epo market, it was discovered that the prices of some food items have witnessed a relative reduction as a result of its availability.
Iya Zainab, who sells kitchen utensils while commenting on the reduction in prices of the products, said manufacturers decided to cut down the products prices in order to attract many people to make purchases.
She said: “Buyers come into the market and not patronizing us, this is affecting us the traders and as well the manufacturers. The rush of the festivity has not been there lately, this then led to the decision by the manufacturing companies to reduce the prices of their product, in order to attract sales.
“There will be an increase in the sales of our products due to the reduced rates; we expect positive response from our customers as the year ends.”
It was also learnt that the prices of food items have increased while others have reduced. For fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, orange and water melon, the prices have reduced while imported fruits like, plum, grape, and pear are more expensive.
Tomatoes, fish, fruits, dry pepper and crayfish among others staple foods have reduced a bit as the festive period draws near.
Traders who sell fish, chicken and turkey at the market, however, said they are happy to announce the reduction in the prices of the commodities, adding that they can only sell at the price they bought.
Iya Tolu, a trader who sells fish said: “A carton of Titus fish that sells for N30,000 in previous weeks now goes for N27,000 while a carton of Kote cost N15,000. This was due to the fall in the exchange rate, because we buy from neighbouring countries.”
Another trader in the market who sells meat, Alfa Saliu, says despite the hike in previous weeks, the turnout has been encouraging.
He said that although customers complained about the prices, they still buy and some in large quantity, because they cannot do without cooking food.
In the market also, the price of vegetable oil and palm oil has gone up. Traders say the current administration is responsible for the hike.
“Before I use to buy 20 gallons of palm-oil, but now I end up buying 5 gallons; because the money for the 20 gallons is what amounts to the price of 5 gallons.
“Now you buy a keg for N20,000 and then you buy ten kegs for N200,000, this means things has gone from bad o worse. Because now, the goods are available in the market but the people do not have the money to buy them, this leads to shortage at the end of the day,” Mama Ifeanyi, a trader who sells who sells palm-oil in the market, laments.
Meanwhile, the price of rice, beans, garri and other foodstuff items have been relatively low as observed in the market.
Checks showed that this was due to the availability of some goods and the weather conditions of others.
Emeka, a trader who spoke to our correspondent said, the price hike was as a result of the rise in dollar and restriction placed on some imported products.
He said: “The price deference is just N500 for rice while the prices of other foodstuff items are reasonable. A bag of dry pepper that cost N70,000 before now costs N55,000. Also, a bag of rice that was sold in previous weeks from N18,000 – N21,000 now ranges from N14,500 – N17,500. Same goes for crayfish that cost N35,000 before now cost N24,000.
“The patronage was low before because the exchange rate was high, which led to the increase of the food items. But now, the exchange rate is going down gradually and consumers are happy and ready to patronize us.
“The price of ogbono is N95,000. The fresh one before is N100,000. And the new opne is from N120,000 – N130,000 called Badagry ogbono. The fresher the ogbono, the higher the price. So far, the patronage has been encouraging because consumers are glad of the reduction in the prices of these basic food items.”
In the same vein, a basket of Hausa tomatoes which goes for N12,000 now sells from N8,000 – N9,000. This according to traders depends on the size of the basket and the freshness of the tomatoes.
Sekinat, a trader who sells perishable goods in the market, informed that the poor economic situation affected the price and availability of the goods negatively.
“People have been complaining of the poor economic situation of the country in recent times, which led to the hike in prices of various goods in the market as well as its availability. The rise in the price of perishable goods was due to the market forces, cost of transportation and farmers influence. But now, tomatoes are affordable and available likewise pepper and onion at a cheaper rate.
“Here in this market, you will get a basket of pepper for N4,000 and a bag of new onion for N26,000. we sell onion from N50. Same goes for pepper and tomato. Now we beg customers to patronize us because if we do not sell it on time, it gets rotten,” she added.
As discovered during the survey, other items like tomato paste, semolina, spaghetti and wheat have witnessed a reduction in price.
A carton of a bag of Dangote spaghetti and Honeywell spaghetti which cost N3,200 before, now cost N2,900. While a bag of Semolina 1okg and Mama Gold wheat flour now cost N2,800.
A businesswoman identified as Mrs Ajibade has a different view of the current market situation.
She hints that her business used to yield huge profits until the recession period.
“I sell baby clothes, shoes and general baby items. Recession is affecting my business. Before I use to travel out to buy my goods, but since the exchange rate has gone up, I buy from people who travel and the price is very high. Because I sell quality and not quantity. A baby gown that cost N3,000 now sells for N6,500. And a baby that cost N2,500- N3,000 now sells from N5,500 upwards.
“The patronage has reduced; it is not encouraging at all. Some customers come to buy wears, and when you give them the price they shout and walk away. We open our shops and by the end of the day, we do not make any sales. During this period, I record a huge turnover of profit but now it is not so. Because things are very expensive. Most of the goods that are imported have gone up, so the prices tend to be doubled,” she explained.
Below is our weekly table of price changes before and now: