Three days to the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, residents of Mararaba and environs are lamenting hike in costs of foodstuffs and appealed for prompt intervention to ameliorate their plights.
Some of the residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, said apart from the high cost of foods caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eid-el-Kabir had further pushed the prices of foodstuffs up.
They decried that the cost of foodstuffs, which had increased by over 50 per cent due to the pandemic, were presently increased by additional 20 per cent. .
A market survey by NAN on Tuesday showed that the prices of major foodstuffs which include rice, beans, palm oil and other condiments have increased.
Most traders in separate interviews with NAN at the Gosa and popular Orange market in Mararaba, Nasarawa State revealed that the increase in the cost price of foodstuffs and other perishables had “hit the roof’’ also due to high cost of transportation.
NAN reports that out of the many brands of rice in the markets, the foreign brands are witnessing low patronage, while the local ones are more patronised because of their nutritional value.
The survey revealed that the price of both local and foreign rice had marginally increased as a 50kg bags of foreign rice now sold for between N28,500 and N30,000, against N23,500 and N25,000, while its 25kg goes for N14,000, marginally increased from N12,000.
A 50 kg bag of Rice Master is selling at N29, 000 as against N19, 000 before the pandemic, also Mama Gold has increased from N22, 000 to N28, 500, Royal Stallion has moved from N 27,000 to N30, 000, while a 25 kg of Basmati is selling for N32,000 as against N18,000.
A rice dealer at the market, Madam Glory Azuka, noted that aside the pandemic, the increase in price of foreign rice could also be attributed to the scarcity as a result of the ban placed on importation of foreign rice.
Price of onions have also increased as , what was sold for N10, 000 and N15, 000 respectively now go for between N30,000, 36,000 and N40,000 per jute bag as against the old prices of N28,000.
NAN observed that dry onions are the most expensive as a big jute bag is selling for N40, 000 because it is gradually going out of season.
The prices of beans are not encouraging at all as there are high increases in the various types of beans available in the market.
The survey revealed that a big bag of beans Oloyin Beans (olo2) has increased for N30, 000 to N38, 000, butter beans from N32,000 to N38,000, while the white beans is now N36,000 as against N32,000.
Ordinary brown beans go for N34,000 as against N28, 000, while a mudu of oloyin beans is now selling at N420, as against N280/300.
An 80kg bag of garri (Ijebu) currently sells for an average of N15, 000 as against N6, 700, 50kg bag of white garri has gone up by 50 per cent to sell for N14,250, while yellow garri (50kg) is now N14,000 and 15,250 compared to the former price of N8, 000.
A big basket of Nsukka tomatoes, which flooded the markets some weeks back, now costs N14, 000 as against N8,000.
A big basket of derica tomatoes now sells for an average of N22,000 compared to N18,500, while a big bag of pepper that sold for an average of N15,000, is now selling for N18,000.
The price of 25 litres gallon of locally made palm oil, which was sold for N10,000 in May, rose to an average of N10,750, while imported and well packaged palm oil flooded the markets.
The survey also showed that price of fish also rose as a big sized croaker, White Horse Mackerel (Kote) that was for an initial average of N450 is now sold for between N550 and N600, while Titus (Mackerel) fish is currently sold for N575 and N700, depending on the size.
A carton of Titus fish that was sold for N19,000 before the Ramadan now sells for an average of N24,000, while a carton of big sized croaker is now N32,000.
In some ram markets within Mararaba, showed that although the markets are full of rams but there are few buyers.
A very big ram is sold for N102, 000, while a medium-size one is N40, 000 and a small is N20, 000.
In other markets, goats of various sizes ranged from N30,000 to N90,0000 depending on the purchasing power of the buyers.
It is also observed that in spite the increase, some household items milk, cocoa, toothpaste, tin and sachet tomatoes and beverages still maintained their initial prices, while other items like spaghetti, noddles, pasta and biscuits are on the increase just by N10.
In spite of the availability of rams ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, the cost of rams have gone up, making it difficult for many Muslims to buy.
A wholesale dealer on foodstuff, Mr Ahmed Abubakar attributed the hike in price of foodstuffs and other consumables to low production and high demand.
Abubakar said that a bag of corn flour initially sold for N15,000 about four months ago now goes for N21,000 while 50kg.
Similarly, Mrs Doshima Gumanen, a dealer on local rice and beans lamented at the inflation on food items.
Gumanen noted that the rise in cost of foodstuffs was on hourly or daily basis, adding that each day they went to the bush market, they discovered different prices.
She says “if you buy a bag of rice at N40,000 on getting to the market probably few hours later price, it will be 20 to 30 per cent increase.”