•Bag of onions moves from N5,500 to N30,000 •Other foodstuffs up by 70 to 200 percent
By CHRISTY ANYANWU, BOLATITO ADEBAYO and OGE OKONKWO
Aside that lives, homelands and property worth billions of naira have been washed away in the flooding that ravaged many parts of the country, there is rife fear of imminent hunger across the nation if something was not done promptly to salvage the situation.
In Lagos, a survey conducted in some markets by Sunday Sun revealed a sudden hike of the prices of most foodstuffs. At Agboju market, a trader, Mrs Eze, said that the prices of virtually all foodstuffs had gone up by between 70 and 200 per cent with the attendant adverse effect of poor sales. “Prices have all gone up. A tuber of yam we sold for N300 now sells N500 while the one that went for N500 until recently is now N700.
Also, a paint bucket of garri that was N350 goes N600. Until recently, we bought one bag of garri for N6000 but it is N15, 000. “So, the prices are very high and we were told the flood was responsible. The customers are not buying as much as before. They are complaining and those that usually buy one paint bucket of garri go for one derica. Now, people prefer buying wheat or semovita to garri due to the high price”, she said. A yam seller, Papa Eze, attributed the increased prices of yam to the flooding in parts of Anambra, Kogi and Benue states.
“Getting yam these days is very difficult because we rarely see much to buy like before. The yams seldom come from Aguileri in Anambra, Kogi and Benue states because flood has covered everywhere.” Similarly, Lilian Ikpe, a fish trader at the market told Sunday Sun that getting dried fish wasn’t as easy as it used to be, “because we were told that the trailers that bring these things have reduced due to the flood.
The price of plantain has also gone up and one of the traders, Mrs Udokuma said that only the ones harvested before the flood were available for sale. At Oke-Odo market located in the suburb of Lagos, traders in consumables and other food items also complained that difficulties faced in transporting food items from other parts of the country have pushed up their prices.
According to Iya Jibola Alabaru, a basket of tomatoes that went for N5,000 goes for N6,500 while a basket of pepper that one could get for N2, 000 before the flood attracts N3,000 and a big bag of pepper has gone up from N5, 000 to N7,000 while a small bag that cost N2, 500 previously is N4, 500. Meanwhile, a bag of onion has shot up to N30, 000 from N5, 500 while a basket of onions that hitherto cost N2, 500 attracts N7, 000 in the market.
The Sunday Sun team also found that tuber of yam that costN170 previously, goes for N250 while a bucket of garri has gone up from N250 to N500 in the market. Bemoaning the sharp increase, a yam dealer, Mr Okere warned: “If nothing was done before the next three to four months, I am afraid that there won’t be food and feeding would be very difficul When Sunday Sun visited Mile 12 market in Lagos the Financial Executive of the market, Alhaji Shehu Usman, urged that the committee set up by the Federal Government on flood should visit the market adding that food crisis was imminent in the country due to flood ravaging farmlands. “We have farmers from all parts of Northern states and every year they come here and we give them money to finance their farming.
We deduct money from the proceeds they bring to the market. Now flood has ravaged their various farms”. He described Mile 12 as the biggest market for perishable food items in the whole of West Africa, adding that the goods from the market are supplied to markets in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo states. He said that the association was handicapped meeting up supplies in Lagos state. “We used to have many trucks coming in here to discharge commodities but it has reduced drastically. The worst part of it is that no government official, NGO, or parastatal had come here to ask us the way forward.
They are just talking about food crisis. The federal government appointed committees on the flooding headed by Dangote. What is our hope with the committees? The appointed committee feel that those who are in charge of these products are not enlightened or they are just lay people selling tomatoes, onions and carrots. That is why they did not deem it necessary to talk to the people in- charge of these products.
“Apparently, the money given by the government to aid farmers might not be given to appropriate channel because some people would collect money on behalf of farmers. “We implore the committees to come to the main market , get to the affected places and see by themselves, do their investigation and see who needs aid.