- Prices of basic food items have crashed further in major markets across the country
- A survey conducted by NAIJ.com at the Retail Market in Ogba, Lagos, revealed the reduction in the price of some food items and stability in the price of others
- Despite the reduction in the prices of goods, traders decried low patronage
- Further checks showed that the relocation of some traders affected their sales negatively
As prices of some food items crashed further, traders in major markets across the country continue to lament low patronage.
A survey conducted by NAIJ.com at the Retail Market, Ogba, Lagos, revealed the reduction in the price of some food items and stability in the price of others.
Traders informed that the relocation of some shop owners owing to the construction of the Ogba multipurpose shopping complex has affected sales negatively. And some customers who used to patronize them no longer come in their usual manner and the temporary site given to them is small compared to the main market.
Madam Joke, a trader who sells gift items at the temporary site, informed that the new location is not attracting sales rather, the old customers are the ones who come from far to patronize her.
She said: “Since we moved to this new site, sales have been low. The buyers who come are the existing buyers from our previous location. We often record low sales even as the prices of some goods in the market have reduced by about fifteen percent.
“Another issue is that, not all goods have reduced in the market. The reduction in prices of goods will reflect on the market location, the type of goods and the cost of purchase. If the cost of purchase is high and the goods are scarce, the purchasing price in the market will definitely be higher than expected.”
At the market, consumers and sellers of perishable goods raised the alarm over low sales, following what they described as poor market conditions. They expressed worry that the situation may soon go beyond their control.
Some consumers told our correspondent that during the week, the prices of food items (especially foodstuffs) reduced, but the purchasing power of the buyers has reduced.
“Just this week I visited the market and observed that the prices of some foodstuff items have reduced. I was glad and felt it should continue like this. But on the other hand, the market was scanty and the presence of buyers was not felt despite the reduction in prices of goods because people are not ready to spend as usual, they are saving their little income.
"There is limited cash in circulation now. The spending pattern of the people has been readjusted,” Dapo, a buyer at the market, told NAIJ.com.
Similarly, the prices of perishable goods like tomatoes, chili pepper and onion crashed by over 10 per cent.
Iya Temi, a tomato seller in the market also, noted that the prices of pepper, onion and tomatoes fluctuate and are often determined by the season, the availability of the produce on a particular day in the market, and the cost of purchase.
According to her: “Perishable goods do not really have a fixed price. Sometimes when you get to the market, it will be expensive and at other times it will be affordable. Most times, when you get to the market, it is not really available; and the prices fluctuate depending on the situation of the market on daily basis.
“A big basket of fresh Hausa tomatoes that cost N15,000 now sells from N12,000 while small basket of tomatoes sells from N4,000-N4,500. This depends on the size of the tomato, how fresh it is and the cost of purchase by the trader. But often times, the basket of tomatoes that is mixed with smashed ones, are quite affordable while the ones that are not mixed are expensive. A bag of pepper cost N7,000 as against the old price of N8,000- N10,000. But the biggest bag is expensive.
“For onions, the new one is scarce and if it is available, it is expensive. The price of new onion remains the same, it cost N25,000 while the bag of old onion cost N35,000. Some traders, sell the new onions from N19,000 while others sell from N25,000, depending on the amount of purchase. Sales have been really low despite the reduction in prices and the cost of carriage of these goods from other major markets to Ogba market is on the rise.”
A trader identified simply as Mr. Peter, who sells food items like rice, beans and garri in the market, expressed dissatisfaction with the level of sales this period.
In a chat with our correspondent, the man explained that, “Generally, there is no fixed price for food items in the market, because some are imported. And these goods we sell, if we do not record good profit we will not be able to go and purchase for the next purchase. The price of rice and garri has become affordable but that of beans remains high due to the security challenges at the northern part of the country.
“Before, a bag of rice cost N11,000 and we resell it from N13,000 upwards, but now we buy a bag from N12,000 and resell from N14,000 upwards, depending on the customer’s purse and quantity of purchase. Beans are expensive due to the insurgency at the northern part of the country.
"The sellers at the northern part of the country have become wise; they do not want to reduce the price of beans for reasons unknown to us. A small bag of Oloyin beans cost N24,000. A bag of Oloone beans cost N45,000 and a bag of Niger beans cost N23,000.
“Garri is affordable. A bag of garri (Yellow) cost N9,000 while a bag of garri (White) cost N8,000. Yellow is more expensive than the white because it takes more time processing yellow garri but the white garri has more quantity than that of yellow. The market situation is getting better, it is just a matter of time things will return to normalcy."
According to findings by NAIJ.com, the prices of some foodstuff items like egusi, ogbono and crayfish were beginning to drop in the market. Survey by our correspondent revealed that prices of some foodstuff items have drastically reduced.
A consumer who identified herself as Angela, spoke with our correspondent, expressing optimism that the prices of food items would crash further before the year runs out.
“The current economic hardship would end when there is food production. When the import of produce is higher than what we export and when we consume more than what we produce, the economy will not grow and it will result to scarcity of food.
“With the efforts of this administration in boosting agriculture, hopefully before the year runs out, food production will increase,” the ebony-skinned lady explained.
During the survey in the same market, another trader, who was simply addressed as Okey, informed that there has been reduction in the prices of foodstuffs, especially ogbono and egusi.
He said: “Some goods in the market have become affordable due to their availability and the efforts of the government in reviving the economy in recent times. Basic foodsuffs like egusi, crayfish and ogbono have witnessed a reduction in prices due to the appreciation of the naira.
“A bag of egusi (hanndpeel) that cost N55,000 before, now cost N45,000 while egusi (Machine) cost N35,000. We have different types of ogbono and pepper but the cost of purchase and the economy determines their price not leaving out the size of the bag, the market location and the content of the bag.
“There is no fixed price of ogbono as the price fluctuates often. A bag of ogbono that cost N95,000 in previous months, have reduced by 30 percent this week. A bag now goes for N65,000. A bag of small dry pepper can be purchased at N50,000 now while a big nylon of crayfish that cost N28,000 before, now cost N 24,000 depending on the size of the crayfish and how fresh it is.
“The bigger the bag, the higher the price of these items: since they are imported into the country, the foreign exchange rate influences the prices of the goods."
Similarly, there was a reduction in the price of yam as observed in the market. Five tubers of (big) yam cost N3,500 as against its old price of N4,500. And five tubers of (small) yam cost N2,000 as against its old price of N2,500.
Yam sellers informed that the reduction was as a result of the increment of some food items that has led to the increment in the demand and supply of yam in the market.
In the same vein, there has been a little increment in the price of oil, especially groundnut oil. According to traders, groundnut oil became expensive due to the fluctuation in exchange rate.
Also at the market, 25-litre of groundnut oil cost N13,500 as against its old price of N12,500. While 25-litre palm oil cost N12,000 as against its old price of N11,000.
“The rise and fall of the Naira and other foreign currencies before and now affects virtually the prices of some major goods in the market. But we know for sure that not all goods are bought with dollar but the state of the economy plays an important role here.
“For some time now, the price of oil has been reduced due to drop in the price of other goods and the appreciation of Naira. But because they are imported, it becomes expensive while the ones that are processed here in Nigeria are affordable,” Madam Vivian, a trader who sells oil in the market, also noted.
Further checks by NAIJ.com showed the reduction in price of food condiments and provisional items but beverages, laundry soaps and cereals witnessed a slight reduction in prices.
For fish sellers in the market, it is a different story entirely with respect to the reduction in the prices of goods.
According to them, the price of fish (especially titus) soars on a daily basis unlike in previous months when it dropped.
Mama Damian told our correspondent that the prices of fish have risen as a result of factors like exchange rate, importation bills and cost of purchase but turkey and chicken remain affordable.
She said: “Just recently, we observed that the price of fish (especially titus) increased; not just once. For instance, when you purchase at a particular rate this week, the next purchase will be higher. We don't understand what exactly is happening but all we know is that the economy situation of the country is bad and the people are suffering.
“A carton of big titus fish costs N24,000 before, but now it costs N26,000 upwards. This price depends on the traders decision, the quantity of the fish in the carton and market location. But for chicken and turkey, there was a slight reduction of about five percent in their prices.”
Among those who also came to get a few items from the market was Mrs. Uche, who said there was stability in the price of some goods and she had to adjust her spending pattern so as to cope with the economic situation of Nigeria.
“The prices of some goods still remain high except foodstuff items. Baby wipes, cereals, sardine, egg, quality wares, bags and shoes. While the prices of other goods had risen beyond what some customers could afford.
“I know how much I spend every month just to shop for food items in the home but since things turned from bad to worse, I had to cut down my expenses and focus on my family’s need and how they will stay healthy in this harsh economic situation Nigeria is faced with,” Mrs. Uche informed our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the market survey showed that the prices of fruits are now two times lower than what they used to be in previous months. Fruits like oranges, pawpaw, apple, banana and pineapple are now affordable and available while others that are imported are still expensive.
Although, the prices of goods in retail markets are higher than the prices of goods sold in major markets, but the difference is minimal.
Market survey: Check out what traders said at Nigeria's food basket- on NAIJ.com TV