20th April, 2021
Some residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Tuesday expressed worry over the high cost of food items and fruits in markets.
As Ramadan enters one week, the residents, in separate interviews said the development called for concern by all.
Mrs Esther Obumneme, a civil servant with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, attributed the high cost of fruits and foodstuff to the Ramadan Fast as a result of high demand.
Obumneme also complained about the high cost of yam, adding that five tubers of yam, hitherto sold for N2,500 at Nyanya Market, were now sold for N4,000.
Alhaji Adamu Dantata, a trader in onions at Karu Market, said that the cost of onions went very high between the end of 2020 and February 2021.
“But around first week of March this year the price of onions came down dramatically, but as soon as Ramadan Fast started, the price went up again, though this time not as high as it was before.
“The basket of onions, which sold at N600, now sells for N750; and the way I am seeing things; more items will still go up because of the fasting.
“The reason is because some of us that are fasting will no longer travel often to buy goods, and those that manage to do so, would not purchase much to cover for all the needs of consumers.
“So, it is normal that during this period of fasting, the demand for foodstuffs especially, fruits are always high, while the supply is low.
“Apart from the fasting, very soon, we will enter into a peak of rainy season and during the season, food items normally go up, so we should expect higher cost of foodstuffs, fruits and other items.
“During the rainy season, it is normal for prices of some foodstuffs to increase, as it is farming season,” Dantata said.
Mr Idris Dada, a trader at the Karshi Market, said that a big basket of tomatoes that was sold for N11,000 before the fasting started, is now N15,000.
Dada said the small size, which was sold at the rate of N6,000 was now being sold for N9,000, while a bag of fresh pepper sold at N2,500, was N5,500.
He said apart from the high cost of vegetables, prices of grains and other foodstuffs like yam, garri, plantain, beans, among others, had increased by 90 per cent.
The trader, however, attributed the high cost of the foodstuffs to COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the high cost of foodstuffs and other items started since the outbreak of the disease in 2020.
Mrs Agnes Uturu, a business woman and resident of Karu, FCT, noted that a ball of water melon that she used to buy for N300 had gone up to N700, adding that she could no longer afford to buy a full one.
“I am just worried about how everything is going high everyday in the market, if the trend is not checked, more people will suffer untold hardship,” Uturu said.
Meanwhile, Mr Festus Balogun, an economist and a retired civil servant of the Ministry of Finance, said that good governance was the only remedy to these myriad of challenges that were inflicting injury on Nigeria’s economy.
Balogun, therefore, advised governments at all levels to collaborate with relevant stakeholders towards aiding effective implementation of policies that could improve the economy.