AS Muslims join their counterparts across the world to observe Ramadan, prices of commodities have skyrocketed. Even before the sighting of the moon, substantial increase had been observed in some foodstuff and condiments such as pepper, tomatoes, yam, fish, etc.
A market survey conducted by ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that the prices of pepper, tomatoes, which were affordable before, have further increased. Some families seek solace in alternatives such as tin tomatoes, dry pepper. Some even avoid their consumption pending a change in prices. Tomatoes and pepper have increased further beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.
A basket of tomatoes used to be N5,000, N6,000 but it has skyrocketed to N22,000. A bag of pepper (rodo) used to be N9,000, N10,000 but now it is sold for between N25,000 and N30,000.
Also a bag of rice which initially sold from N8,500 and above now costs N10,000 depending on the brand.
A bag of beans used to be N18,000, it is now sold for N20,000.
Similarly, five litres of palm oil used to be N1,000, it is now N1,200, while groundnut oil used to be N1,400, it is now N1,500, N1,550.
Some traders attributed the price increase to high demand because of Ramadan season. While some lamented that it is as a result of the insurgency in the North since they supply tomatoes, pepper to other parts of Nigeria.
ENCOMIUM Weekly sampled opinions of married women and traders on the skyrocketing increase.
MRS. ADEYEMI JOY
“There is a serious increase in prices of foodstuffs. When you want to compare what it was about two months ago to what it is now, the difference is clear. Though some items are not in season. For instance, Ugwu is now expensive. N100 worth of Ugwu used to be N50. Yam is also expensive, a tuber of yam goes for N500, N600 now. It was N200, N250 before. Tomatoes and pepper are the most expensive now.”
MRS. ADEWUMI AJAYI
“Prices of foodstuffs are on the high side now. Some people believe Ramadan is responsible for it. I know during the fasting period, fruits, beans are usually on the high side. It seems it is general now. There are some cereals that are now super expensive.”
MRS. FUNKE JOSHUA
“Things are on the high side now especially tomatoes and pepper. I have not made stew in the last four weeks. I have a family of four. Before, N200 tomatoes, N200 pepper will be enough to make stew for some days, but now, N500 tomato is not enough. I don’t know what is responsible for the increase. Some say it is Ramadan, but the increase started before fasting commenced.”
MRS. JUMOKE OLAKEMI
“There is no serious increase in foodstuff as such. It was very obvious when there was fuel scarcity, everything skyrocketed. What I have noticed now is that kerosene is on the high side. Despite the fact that price of fuel has gone back to normal, I still buy a litre of kerosene for N135, N140. It used to be N100, N120 before fuel scarcity, that’s N20, N50 difference. The price of fish has increased. I used to buy one Titus for N200, N250 depending on the size. It is now N300, N350 per piece.”
MRS. STEPHANIE IKECHUKWU
“Yes, I can say prices of things have gone up. I used to buy a bag of rice for N8,000, now it is N10,000. My baby’s food has gone up too. I used to buy it for N750, now it is N850.”
MAMA KUBURA (Fish seller)
“Things have gone up. I used to sell one big Sawa for N110, now it is N120, N130. One big Titus used to be N200, it is now N250. I sell some for N300, N400.”
IYA AYO (Rice and beans seller)
“Yes, things are very expensive now. Foodstuffs are skyrocketing for different reasons. The Ramadan has also affected the prices of foodstuffs because the main source of production has reduced. The Northerners are the ones producing the highest quantity of beans, and during this period, they do not have enough strength to farm because they are observing the Ramadan fast. They also travel less, so they don’t bring much items to Lagos State. Rice before was about N8,500 to N9,000, but it has increased to N10,000. Beans was about N18,000 but has increased to N20,000. These are the prices in bags and they can increase as time goes on.”
MAMA OSHIOKE (Garri seller)
“Garri is costly now due to increase in fuel price, because fuel price still differs in various places and it is more difficult to get fuel in the eastern parts of Nigeria. A bag of garri goes for N5,000 before but has increased to N6,500 now.
MAMA PAMILERIN (Pepper seller and Yam)
“Pepper is like gold now. Although pepper is not in season, it has never been as bad as it is now. It’s so expensive that one can do without putting pepper in one’s food. People have found other ways to survive by cooking food and soups that require less pepper like Egusi, Ogbono, etc. Some people even have started using dry pepper because they are cheaper than fresh pepper. A basket of tomatoes goes for N22,000 now, while pepper is N30,000 and bell pepper is about N9,000. We don’t know the actual cause apart from the fact that we are not in season of pepper.”
– SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN