Traders of perishable farm produce especially vegetables are counting losses as farmers now flood markets across the country with their harvests which has significantly brought down prices.
LEADERSHIP conducted a survey of markets ahead of Easter celebration and it observed that major receiving points in Lagos like the Mile 12 market are now flooded with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, cabbage, green beans among other farm produce thus crashing the prices just as traders lament they are not making sales.
Mohammed Abdul secretary of the Arewa Perishable Foodstuffs Association in Mile 12 in Lagos, stated that because of bumper harvest farmers have flooded the market with tomatoes few days to the Easter. According to him, in the last two days there was influx of trucks with tomatoes and because they didn’t have storage facilities, the traders were forced to sell at giveaway prices.
“Before now a basket of tomatoes is sold for either N12,000 or N13,000 depending on the grade, but as of today, a basket sells for as low as N3,000 per basket. We buy each basket between N7,500 and N8,000 from the farmers and we are now losing about N6,000 on each basket which include N2,000 for transportation cost.
“We also have realised that many of the trucks are meant for Eastern market, like Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt and other major markets in that region but they decided to bring them here. In this market, the capacity can take about 30 trucks and each truck carries about 400 baskets and each of the baskets weighs 40 to 50 kilograms, so we don’t have the market for all these volumes”, he lamented.
Also, Alh. Saidu Husaini, chairman, Vegetable Association of Mile 12 market said the Easter season has brought some shortages to them as lack of storage facilities has forced them to sell off their products without bargaining.
For Cabbage, Husaini said the price was previously N3,000 to N3,500 but now it sells for between N4,000 to N4,500 per sack, while Cucumber which was sold for N2,500 and N3,000 now sells for N3,500 or N4,000.
Green pepper sells for N6,000 and N6,500 per carton as against N8,000 before depending on the grade. The Green Pepper comes from Jos, in Plateau state. He said, Green Beans also from Jos, prior to Easter period sold for N8,000 per bag but now sells for N7,000, while Water Melon which sell in trucks has come down to N35,000 but he did give figure before Easter. He said each truck, (Canter) carries over 1,700 pieces of the product.
Also, corroborating Abdul’s claim on tomatoes price, Alh. Yahuza Alhassan, Chairman Tomatoes Sellers Association in Mile 12, said the oversupply from Sokoto, Kano, Jos, Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa has forced prices down such that traders are counting so much loss in the season.
For Maize, a miller at the popular Onigbongbo market, Sunday Ogwurumba said a minor increase was observed before Easter. According to Ogwurumba, a smaller bag was previously sold for N10,000 but now sells for N11,000 and they in turn resell to consumers at N13,000 per bag. A bigger bag before sells for N12,000 but now sells for N13,000 while they resell for N15,000 per bag.
At Ojodu-Berger Retail market, Lagos, our survey shows a reduction in the prices of rice, beans and perishable items and an increment in others. Despite the naira appreciation, traders informed of a decline in sales as the naira continues to appreciate against the dollar, prices of basic food items crash in some major markets across the state.
According to findings the prices of some staple foods, such as rice, beans, maize, groundnut, were beginning to drop in the market while others like garri and crayfish continues appreciated a little.
In the market, prices of food items are dropping following the arrival of new harvests, as a bag of rice now sells for N17,500 and below as against previous price of N19,000 and above. A survey carried out by our correspondent revealed that prices of some grains have drastically reduced but rice, still in high demand, remains costly but with slight drop in price.
Managing director of Honeymitre Farms, Mr. Olaitan Okedeji while speaking with LEADERSHIP attributed the scenario to abundant rain especially in the North which supported the farming season and creating bumper harvest for peasant farmers.
Okedeji expressed confidence that given various interventions by government agencies like the Bank of Industry, there would be improved farming activities in the coming farming season such that prices of food stuff will further nosedive.
LEADERSHIP reports that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in February disclosed that average price of one kilogramme (kg) of yam tuber increased year-on-year by 7.10 per cent. The bureau said that one kilogram, kg of yam also increased by 1.92 per cent month-on-month from N226.51 in January to N230.85 in February.
The report stated that average price of one dozen of Agriculture eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by 0.21 per cent and month-on-month increased by 18.75 per cent. According to the report, the price increased from N437.13 in January to N519.07 in February. In addition, it said the average price of a piece of Agriculture eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -3.81 per cent.
It noted that the price increased by 6.24 per cent month-on-month by 6.24 per cent from N38.85 in January to N41.27 in February. Meanwhile, the report stated that the average price of one kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 12.88 per cent and decreased month-on-month by 1.80 per cent. According to the report, the price of the commodity decreased from N271.99 in January to N267.10 in February.
Similarly, the average price of one kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -11.05 per cent. The report, however, stated that the commodity increased by 1.24 per cent month-on-month from N360.76 per measurement (Mudu) in January to N365.21 in February.