Low mechanisation in the agriculture sector as well as weak local currency to support importation have triggered over 70 per cent hike in the price of beans across the country, a LEADERSHIP Weekend investigation has revealed.
Across major markets in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Abuja among other parts of the country, the price of beans has increased astronomically in the last few months.
Our findings revealed that a small bag of honey and drum beans, which is previously sold at N7,500 is now sold at N45,000 while the big bag earlier sold at N15,000 now hovers between N90,000 and N100,000.
Similarly, a derica (big tomato tin) of beans sold earlier in the year at N200 now goes for N700.
Although, insecurity contributed to shortage of beans which triggered the price, low mechanisation and weak local currency were also identified as key determinants of the price surge.
Speaking on this development, the president, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arch. Kabir Ibrahim, attributed it to lack of mechanisation to enhance production and weak local currency to support importation.
Ibrahim said because the demand gap is so huge, the cost had continued to rise as insecurity has forced farmers out of their farms.
According to the AFAN president, there is local demand shortfall of about 500,000 metric tons.
He said, local demand of beans is over 1 million metric tons and local farmers cannot meet half of this demand.
Ibrahim, however, stated that with the new genetically modified variety, Nigeria would now have the chance and opportunity to optimise production.
According to him, it is left to farmers to embrace this new variety and ignore the argument being speculated about its health implications
Ibrahim challenged those who make such claims to come up with any scientific proof of its health challenges.
LEADERSHIP Weekend had earlier reported that in 2019, after a decade of research, field trials and biosafety confirmation, Nigeria approved the registration and commercial release of a new genetically modified cowpea (beans) to Nigerian farmers.
The GM bean called SAMPEA 20-T was genetically engineered to resist a ravaging pest known as pod-borers or maruca vitrata.
Ibrahim, in his argument, said farmers should take up the challenge and move into commercial production of this new GM beans.
The AFAN president said there was no basis for the strong resistance and opposition to accept the beans, adding that it had contributed to the shortages being experienced today.
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP went around some markets to enquirer about the current price of beans.
Mummy Chiamaka who sells Akara in front of Oja retail market in Jakande Estate, Isolo lamented the sudden hike in the price of beans.
She complained to our correspondent that a small bucket of beans that used to be sold for N2,500 to N2,700 is now selling at N3,700 to N4,000. She said, she now makes lesser quantity and her Akara is now being sold at a small pair for N50 as against three for the same amount.
Pius Alade, a consumer, lamented that a big bag of beans is now being sold for N100,000, ‘even though, I am not buying a bag, but it falls back to us the final consumer.’
At Ikeja, a Akara(bean cake) seller, Oruhu Monday said: “for me, as from 9th of October this year, which is tomorrow, I will stop selling Akara for now until the price comes down because I am running at lost.
“We have different kind of beans, like Oloyin (honey) and drum beans, which we buy before at the rate of N5000, and N7500 while the big bag is N15,000. But now, the small bag is N45,000. Where is Nigeria headed to? In 2018, small bag was N5,000 and now it is N45,000. where is Nigeria headed to? People complaint about the quantity and this is because we had to reduce the quantity we sell because I used gas, groundnut oil, pepper, onions, and salt to make it spicy, and all this are factored into it.”
According to Iyaloja, FAAN market, Ikeja, Afusat Shehu, “ I don’t joke with beans now because a small bag of beans is now sold for 48,000 and the small quantity of derica is now N700 . Before now, it is sold for N200 even at the pick of corona virus lockdown, it was still N150 and we had partial lockdown it was sold for N200, and from then on it kept increasing till now that is sold for N700