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Nigerians groan over rising prices of food

By Francis Akinnodi

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Due to persistent rise in the cost of foodstuffs and staple foods, there are growing indications that Nigerians now find it difficult to survive.

The Hope survey also found out that concerns have continued to mount nationwide as many traders are now struggling to continue to stay afloat following the high cost of living amid the rising prices of foodstuff.

Just this week, the prices of foodstuffs ranging from staples to provisions have increased by 15 to 25 percent. A 50kg bag of small grain polished rice formerly sold between N52,000 and N54,000 in the first week of January is now sold for between N59,000 and N60,000.

At the Oja Oba market in Akure, a checks showed that the prices of beans, rice, yam, garri, onions, tomatoes, pepper, fish, vegetable oil, palm oil, flour, and others have gone up beyond what many consumers say they can afford.

A congo of garri is now sold between N600 and N1000 depending on the quality of the product, while a congo of local and foreign rice is sold between N1,800 and N2,400.

White and brown beans is now for N1,600 and N1,900, a congo of yam flour is N1,200, a congo of pupuru is now N1,000, a kilo of wheat that sold for N500 is now N900, while a kilo of Semo sells for N1,200.

Spaghetti now sells for N700, a loaf of bread sells between N600 and N1500 depending on the size, an egg sells for N150, a piece of Titus fish is sold within the range of N1,300 and N1,800, a litre of groundnut oil is sold for N1,500 while palm oil sells for N1,100.

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One of the retailers, Adekemi Akinbanmi, complained that she had to leave the market without buying anything because of the hike in prices of foodstuffs, which is far above her budget.

She noted that the measured powdered milk she usually buys at N4,500 per paint bucket was sold at N7,000, an increase that was way above her budget.

“My customer even encouraged me to buy it like that because an increase in the prices of her stuff seems inevitable. She told me that she also has stopped buying in bulk for now because the changes in prices are not predictable and there are indications it will get costlier.”

Another retailer, Sade Ojo, also complained that she wasn’t prepared for the increase in prices of stuff. For her, she assumed things might get expensive by February ending towards the time of the Ramadan fast.

She explained, “I intend to restock my food supply in early February, but now with this unexplainable crazy increase, I plan to go to market on Monday to buy what I can because the body language in the market is that things will still get more expensive.”

Due to the persistent increase in prices of foodstuffs, some retailers have held out for the moment. Caroline Olaniyi, who usually hawks frozen fish, complained bitterly over the cost of her products, noting that she cannot afford to buy expensive goods and sell them at a loss.

“If I buy a quarter pack of Titus fish at N15,500, how much am I to sell one as I can only get six to seven pieces of fish in a quarter. For now, I’ve stopped selling until things become bearable or better.”

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Some of the traders blamed the price increase on the fuel hike and the incessant abductions which they claimed have turned many traders into victims of kidnappers.

On her part, Olamuji Taye said the increase in the prices of staple food is just a ploy to frustrate both the poor and vulnerable in the country.

She said, “Things are costly now. I used to buy bags of rice and half a bag of beans and garri in the house, but these days, we can’t afford them any longer.

“We now take home what we see and eat. The situation is frustrating and saddening. Can you imagine common fermented locust bean of N5 now costs N100?”

She, however, blamed traders for the hike, adding that many business owners indiscriminately increased the prices of food items.

She thereafter called on the government to rescue of Nigerians by looking into the increase in the prices of essential commodities.

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