21st September, 2012
As the prices of commodities in the market continue to soar, Nigerian women have cried out that the sky-rocketing prices have serious effect on family resources.
Apart from yam which is currently relatively cheap because it is harvest season and is grown in different parts of the country, prices of other foodstuff have risen astronomically, thus making some of the women complain about coping with the feeding allowances from their husbands.
The price increase is even most reflected in the current cost of beans which has gone up to 200 per cent high compared to last year.
“We actually do not know where we are going in this country. We have reached a situation where as a housewife, no amount you get from your husband is enough,” says Mrs. Justina Aderinde, a housewife resident in Iyana-Ipaja, who said she had to convince her husband to follow her to the market so that the man would not continue to think she was withholding some of the feeding allowances for the family.
P.M.NEWS learnt that a bag of beans which used to cost N13, 000 now sells for N37, 000 while a paint rubber of beans now sells for between N1, 250 and N1, 400 up from between N600 and N700 that it sold previously.
Also a smaller rubber referred to as mudu now sells for between N500 and N600 up from the previous price of N230 while a tin of beans now goes for N280 or N300 instead of the N120 for which it sold previously.
The price of small Derica of garri and rice could also be said to have gone up when compared to last year even though the price difference between this year and last year is marginal unlike in the case of beans.
While a paint rubber of garri now goes for between N450 and N600 up from the usual N300 or N350, a bag of rice sells for between N8, 500 and N10, 000 depending on the brand of rice.
“Last year, we bought foodstuff in bulk while I cooked soup once a week.
“Then, my husband always gave me N2, 500 every week for soup, but I had to complain to him recently that the amount could hardly buy those things I could buy with the same amount last year,” a resident of Agbado-Ijaiye, Mrs. Jumoke Samson, said.
“Just see what is happening to us today because of our over dependence on a particular section of the country for the food we eat,” she added.
She confirmed that even the prices of provisions in the market have continued to rise.
according to Madam Veronica, a yam seller in Egbeda, the price of yam dropped recently as a result of new one in the market.
“If you had come like two months ago, I’m sure you won’t want to buy because it was so expensive.During that period, a tuber of yam was sold for between N400 and N500 on the average,” she said.
Giving reasons for the price hike, some traders in Mile 2 and Iyana-Ipaja markets told P.M. NEWS that the recent flood disasters in some northern states as well as the growing insecurity in the region adversely affected many of the farmers.
“The floods washed away their produce,” said Ahmed Tijani, who is a wholesale seller of farm produce. “Now buyers are scarce and it is affecting our business.
Ibrahim Nasiru, who sells beans in Iyana-Ipaja, told P.M.NEWS that thecommodity would have become scarce even if the flood had not affected the farmers. According to him, many of the farmers deserted their farms over insecurity caused by Boko Haram who has staged numerous attacks across the North.
He said many of the farmers stopped farming to avoid being attacked.
“Ordinarily, new beans should be in the market now, but the floods and the issue of Boko Haram have seriously affected farming,” he said.
At the Mile 2 Market, some of the consumers who spoke with P.M.NEWS could not point out the reason behind the sudden hike in the prices of foodstuffs, especially beans.
Some of them believed that the commodity is being hoarded by the farmers just to make more money.
“Beans is supposed to be the poor man’s supplement for protein because it is cheap, but the way it is now, even the poor man has no access to protein again,” says Mrs. Victoria Udom, a retailer of the commodity.
But Idrisu Abu, who sells beans in bags at the Mile 2 Market, denies that farmers were hoarding it.
“Farmers cannot hoard beans once it is harvest time. The situation is beyond them.
“Beans is also very expensive in the north and it is not because they want to make more money; farming has been seriously affected by the flood.
“Also, many farmers have since abandoned their farms because they don’t want to die. Some of my customers have migrated from their villages because they feel some of the areas are no longer safe.
“You can’t blame them,” the 36 year-old Abu said, adding that he has not travelled for some time now because of the scarcity of the commodity.
Mr. John Adewunmi, a resident of Oju-Ore, in Ota area of Ogun State, said the situation could only normalise if state governments decide to really focus on agriculture.
According to him, what they do now is scratching the surface.
“They are yet to really direct their energies to the agricultural sector. We have seen that the majority of them are just hypocritical about it, but they just have to change,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Taiwo Kolawole, just back from Sri Lanka, has not hidden his disdain for the method of governance in the country.
According to him, Sri Lanka has moved from third world to a second world country and their currency and economy is far better than that of Nigeria simply because the country’s government does not joke with agriculture.
Bisi Yusuf, another lawmaker, disclosed that Malaysia now generates much of its resources from agriculture, especially from palm oil, while Nigeria, which Malaysia learnt from on how to produce palm oil, now imports the product.
“It is one of the saddest aspects of our history,” he told P.M.NEWS.
By Eromele Ebhomele