The persistent fuel scarcity, insecurity and foreign exchange restriction may have forced the prices of tomatoes, fresh pepper and chili pepper and other food items up by about 30 percent. Prices of the items had soared by 30 per cent in most markets in Lagos on Monday. The survey showed that a big basket of tomatoes which previously sold for N9, 100 at the Mile 12, Iddo and Whitesand markets now sells for N13, 000.
A medium-size basket of fresh pepper now sells for N8, 000.00, from N5,600, while a basket of chili pepper goes for N12, 000 as against N8,500 it sold the preceding weeks. A jute bag of onions goes for N33, 000 from N25, 000, while a 25-litre keg of vegetable oil goes for N8,800 as against N8,200 previously.
At the Daleko Market, Isolo, the prices of the various brands of a 50-kilogramme bag of rice, which previously sold at N9, 500 now sells for N12,000. Traders attributed the lingering fuel scarcity, insecurity, foreign exchange restriction and lack of storage facility as reasons for the increase in the prices of food items.
Mr Femi Odusanya, spokesman for Mile 12 Perishable Food Traders Association, said fuel scarcity had affected the movement and prices of goods to the Lagos market. “The number of trucks that bring goods to the market has reduced. “We get less than 10 trucks from the 40 trucks that usually bring goods to the market daily because there is no fuel to transport the goods to Lagos.
“The delay affects the goods as most of them rot before they get to the market. Traders usually add the expected margin to minimise their losses,’’ he said. Odusanya urged the government to address the issue of recurring fuel scarcity, post harvest storage of goods and improved mechanised farming to sustain food security.
Alhaji Tajudeen Saka, a butcher, attributed the increase in the price of livestocks to the insecurity in the north-east and cost of transporting cows to the southern parts of the country. He said: “The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, the clash between Fulani herdsmen and some communities are factors that have affected the rearing of livestocks’’.
Mrs Iyabo Adebowale, a cloth seller at Docemo market, said sales had dropped. “We pray and hope that business activities will improve in the few days preceding Christmas celebration.’’