By Asekunowo Bukola, Favour Norbert, Samiat Mayegun, Samson Obolo & Iyanuoluwa Akinroro
Prices of food items and commodities have again skyrocketed in Ondo State as Muslim faithful celebrate the Ed-el-Fitr to commemorate the end of the Holy Ramadan month.
The Hope investigation at different markets in the state revealed that prices of food items started increasing a few days before the end of the Ramadan fasting.
Traders at the markets surveyed told The Hope that it had been the usual practice for prices of food items to increase during festive periods.
Some of the most affected food items are garri, beans, tomatoes, pepper, yam, frozen food and melon.
A bag of beans that was N46,000 has also jumped to N50,000. A basket of tomatoes skyrocketed from N15,000 to N40,000 – N50, 000 and one could barely find N100 worth of tomatoes in the market.
A 50kg bag of pepper also increased from N25,000 – N30,000 to N50,000.
A 25 litres keg of palm oil was sold for N16,000-N17,000 before the festive period but has increased to N25,000-N26,000.
At the popular Shasha market along Akure-Owo road, a trader that sells food items, Mrs Stella Dorcas, told The Hope that those who supply the items usually increase prices anytime there is a significant festival.
She added that products that were very affordable became costlier as Eid-el-Fitri approaches, adding that the demand for beans increased during Ramadan and this led to the increase in the price of the food items.
Her words: “Business person needs more capital or wisdom to run a business or else, that individual will run into debt.
“A big bag of melon was N200, 000 is now N250, 000 while the small bag has increased from N250,000 to N270,000. Let me even come down to congos. It used to be N2000 for a big rubber of melon, but it is now 2500. So, a trader without wisdom can’t cope with these challenges,” she explained.
At Oja Oba in Akure, a trader, who identified herself as Mummy Mojoyin, explained that despite prices of food items increasing daily, the Ramadan festival further exacerbated the increase.
“Things are getting expensive every day; forget that Muslims are celebrating; even without their celebration, things are still expensive.
“Local rice sold for N15,000 when it first came out is now N34, 000. The clean one sells for N36,000.
“It has been a year since we started selling 5kg of groundnut oil for N7300. You can imagine something sold N5500 before.
A bag of garri moved from N8,500 to N11,500 while a rubber is sold for N400 to N500, as against N200 – N300 initial price.
Even foreign rice is sold for N39, 000 and some sell at N40,000. But the festive period sometimes increases the prices of food items.
A frozen food seller at the same market called Brother Alfa said that the prices of chicken are not stable, adding that a carton of frozen chicken that was once sold for N25,000 has increased to N28,000- N30,000.
He confirmed that “Anytime there is a festival, the prices of frozen foods go up but we don’t have any other choice than to sell them because we have to survive.”
A trader, Mrs Olabisi Alonge, explained that the festival increased the prices of garri, palm oil and other items.
Mrs Alonge added that customers who pay cash for items bought would pay a little less than those who pay with bank transfer, adding that even if the suppliers do not add any amount to goods sold, wholesalers will.
Reports from Owo, Ondo and Akoko area indicated the same situation. At Koko market in Owo, Mrs Taye Joseph and her colleague, Mrs Adekunle Talabi, told The Hope that prices of tomatoes and pepper started increasing as the Ramadan month started winding up.
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