Prices of some food items like tomatoes, beans and onions have increased in Abuja and Lagos markets as the annual Ramadan by Muslims begins.
In Abuja, the price of a basket of tomato has gone up from N7,000 to N18,000. The price per basket was N3,000 about two months ago due to bumper harvest and large supply in the market.
A fruit trader in Zangon Daura Estate in Kado, Abuja, Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi, told Daily Trust that, “The selling price of a basket of tomato is N20,000 due to the high scarcity of the commodity and the price of a normal measure is N5,000.
“The big basket is N7,000, while the smallest which is about two-handfuls was sold for N1,000 respectively. Tomato was not sold for any amount less than N1000 in Abuja. Because even if you sell a piece at the rate of N50, you would not break even, not to talk of making any profit at all.”
Some of the residents expressed worry over the recurrent tomato scarcity and called on government and agricultural research centres to find a lasting solution to the menace.
A check at Gwarimpa market shows that food prices have gone up compared to what was obtainable in the last few weeks. A crate of eggs that was sold N700 now sells between N900 and N1000. A big basket of tomatoes that cost N11,000 before has gone up to N15, 000.
A trader in the market, Mrs. Halima Abu, attributed the increase in the prices to the season as well as the cost of moving the products to the market.
Another trader, who gave her name as Hajiya Aisha said; “It is because of Ramadan, people are stockpiling the food for the fasting, and the traders too want more gains.
A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria earlier in the week at Mile 12, Iddo and Oyingbo Markets, showed that a 40kg basket of tomatoes, which previously cost N16, 500 in April now goes for N30, 000.
A 50kg basket of chili pepper increased from N12,000 to N16,000; and a basket of ‘tatashe,’ (pepper) rose from N13, 500 to N17, 000.
Similarly, a 100kg bag of beans rose from N34, 500 to N38, 000; a jute bag of onions which previously sold for N18, 000 now costs N22, 000, while a 50kg bag of rice ranges between N13, 000 and N17, 000, depending on the brand.
In the same vein, a 100kg bag of maize ranges between N15, 000 and N19, 000; while a paint measure of ‘garri,’ increased to N400 from N350.
Traders at the markets attributed the price increases to seasonal factors, migration of farmers arising from insecurity and increase in transportation costs.
Emeka Ndubuisi, a beans seller at Oyingbo, said the Ramadan season was also a factor that contributed to the increase in the price of beans.
According to her, most people purchase beans to make ‘akara’ (bean cake) and ‘moi-moi’ (another local delicacy) for the fasting period.
Femi Odusanya, spokesperson of Mile 12 Market Perishable Food Traders Association, said it was imperative to train farmers to adopt modern technology in crop production, and empower them with funds.
“Over 80 per cent of farmers are into subsistence farming. We need to train them on the latest technology in crop production, so that they can cultivate all-year-round.
By Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad & Mshelia Dauda with Agency report