Traders in Lugbe groan over increasing cost of food items

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There is palpable fear of mass hunger in the country as many traders in Lugbe have expressed concerns over the steady rising cost of living , due to the soaring food and commodity prices especially, in the last 3 weeks.

At AMAC relocation market, the largest market in Lugbe, a suburb in FCT, many traders and customers alike, appeared to be bitter concerning the recent sharp rise in the cost of food items and commodities.

Prices of major foodstuff have gone up by up to 50-60% according to investigations carried out in the market .

Most of the people interviewed expressed deep concerns and called on government to urgently address the situation before things get out of hand because according to them, if food prices are this high during what is supposed to be the season of plenty, how would they cope now that the dry season has almost begun

Many of the traders could not explain the reasons for the rocketing increase in food prices inspite of a stable fuel price, which they claimed is the usual reasons for high cost of food items in the country.

Others however, attributed the trend to the general insecurity in the country caused by the activities of bandits, kidnappers, herdsmen and other criminal elements who have continuously targeted innocent farmers, leading to the high cost of food items being experienced in the country.

Some others blamed the rise in transport fares, which they also said is caused by the inability of farmers to produce enough food for domestic consumption, where the transport workers also depend for their food supplies.

Some of the foodstuffs particularly hit by the price hike include rice, beans, onion, maize, millet, sorghum, palm oil and yam.

Haruna Ibrahim, a trader who sells rice, groundnuts, onions, tomatoes and peppers in the market said prices for these items have gone down except for onions and beans.

He said “onion have increased from N17,000 to N25,000 but the price of local rice per bag has gone down from N55,000-N60,000 naira to N45,000 and even the foreign rice have since the last 6 months also remained stable at N32,000 and N39, 000 depending on the quality of the foreign rice*.

Our correspondent observed that the prices of yam have also gone up, as 100 pieces of medium sized yams, which according to one madam Funke, a yam seller in the market, was sold for N35,000 as at last two weeks, is now N47, 000. She said the price of garri and yam flour (alugbo,gbodo, from Oyo) per bag, has come down from 24,000 to N22, 000 and N53, 000 to N49, 000 respectively.

Mrs Victoria, another trader in the market, said a bag of beans have within a 2 weeks period, gone from N67, 000 to 75, 000 and Golden Penny spaghetti, from N4,500 to N6, 200. She said palm oil have also gone from N20,000 to N24,000 per 40 litre gallon while groundnut oil rises from N25, 000 to N27, 500.

Mrs Ekechuchwu Glory who sells palm oil in the market, said people are dying from the hardships imposed by this trend and many shops are closing because patronage has been very low.

” how can we buy a bag of sachet water that was sold for N120-N150 last month for N250 – N300, N120 this month , when we are still in the rain season “

She added that a 25 – litre keg of palm oil, which used to cost N11,000 about a month ago, is now N13,500. ” A measure of egusi and crayfish that was sold for N700/800 and N1000 is now N1,400 and N1, 500/N2000 respectively

All the other people interviewed, which include some buyers , confirmed the developments called on government to quickly intervene in what they said could could lead to mass starvation, when the dry season finally arrives.

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