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Expensive Eid-el-Kabir: Ram Sells For Nearly N1m

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Bag of rice N90K, few pepper N200 as high prices dampen celebration mood

•Traders lament: Only super-rich buying

For ordinary people, particularly those preparing for Eid-el-Kabir celebration this season, food inflation is dampening the festive spirit.

Basic food prices have skyrocketed in recent months, frustrating the average person who is not a career politician or into fraud, otherwise known as Yahoo Yahoo.

Findings across major markets in Lagos and Ogun states showed that people are struggling to purchase food items needed for Sallah celebration while traders are lamenting poor sales.

Several women who spoke to Sunday Vanguard about the development in local markets at Iyana-Iba, Agbara and Oyingbo, expressed feelings of helplessness and hopelessness as food prices continue to rise.

The prices of staples such as rice, beans, eggs, beef, fish, tomatoes and pepper are clearly beyond the reach of ordinary people.

For example, the price of a crate of egg, which was N2,600 six months ago, is now N4,800.

The price of fresh tomatoes and pepper is almost similar to contraband items as they have become very expensive.

In the market, N300 tomatoes have become scarce even as traders sell a few balls of scotch bonnet pepper for N200.

Long grain rice, which used to sell for around N52,000 per bag in December, now costs almost N90,000, resulting in a paint bucket of long grain rice selling for N7,000, up from N5,500 in December.

However, some traders who buy directly from Seme in Cotonou and sell in Agbara sell theirs at a slightly lower price than at Iyana Iba.

Mrs Lawal, who transports rice and groundnut oil directly from Seme, still sells a bag of rice for N73,000 and a five-kilogram, Kg, keg of groundnut oil for N8,200.

Speaking to Sunday Vanguard, Yemisi Aina, who was in Agbara market to purchase some food items, said: “Take a look at this bag (pointing at a half empty bag she was holding.) I just spent N30,000 I came to the market with. Look at the few food items it could buy. I could only buy one Kg of turkey instead of two we usually buy for the weekend so I can buy other food items.

“The money my husband gives me monthly for feeding is no longer enough to meet the needs of the family. I keep taking funds from my business to supplement the feeding budget, but the pressure is too much. Food is now beyond our budget.”

Another woman, Oladoyin Samuel, told Sunday Vanguard: “These days, because of food inflation, I get very scared to go to the market.

“You will walk through the entire market, looking for lower prices and eventually come back empty-handed. The price of an item you purchased yesterday can rise by the time you get to the market today.

“When you finish your shopping, it will appear that you lost money at the market, even though you did not. This is a very frustrating situation.”

A visit to Iyanoba Market also showed the same hopeless situation as traders and buyers lamented the impact of inflation on purchasing power.

Unlike in the past when the market was usually crowded and a beehive of activities for a few days before Sallah, the reverse is now the case.

Speaking to Sunday Vanguard, a trader, Tamari, who sells basket of tomatoes and pepper, said: “It is not our fault, We don’t just increase the prices of the items we sell to frustrated buyers. We can’t sell below cost price to please buyers. We need to be able to restock after selling to them, that is the only way we can remain in business.

Madam Tamari lamented, saying: “Look at this 50kg basket of tomatoes (pointing at one of the baskets beside her) that I bought on Thursday from Mile 12 at N110,000. I still transported it from Iyana Iba, and the cost of transportation is not helping out. I am still figuring out how I will be able to sell and recoup my capital, not profit as it stands. So imagine our daily struggles to get these items to consumers.”

On her part, Mrs Anges Chikodi, a frozen food trader, lamented: “I buy a carton of chicken for 58,000, a carton of original Titus fish is 91,000, and Turkey is 60,000. Like most traders who sell frozen foods, I still have to use generators to preserve them so they don’t get spoiled. You know the cost of fuel.

“At the moment, we are all struggling, both sellers and buyers. However, rather than blame the government for making life difficult for everyone, customers blame the traders. “

At the ram section of Alaba Rago Market, the situation is worse.

Sellers lamented poor sales owing to high cost of ram, which is usually transported from the northern part of the country, and even Niger Republic.

Those who spoke to this paper noted that high cost of transportation, insecurity in the North, effect of border closure and poor condition of inter-state roads contributed to the situation.

Alhaji Musa Sabon Burni, a ram seller, noted: “This year has shown that things are getting worse in Nigeria. The sales are very poor because of the prices. People can’t afford to buy ram for between N300, 000 and N900, 000.The cheapest you can get is N200, 000.

Only the super rich men are buying. In the past, politicians bought large quantities to share for their friends, we haven’t seen that this year.”

Sani Usaman, who has been in the business for 31 years, described the situation this year as terrible.

He said: “Nigeria is finished, let’s not deceive ourselves. It is only who will save us. The prices of ram this year are three times higher than what they were last year. People are not buying because of the prices. “

Ram

Another ram dealer, Mallam Abu, who buys from the border town of Seme and Ado in Ogun State and resells at Iyana Ipaja ram market in Lagos State, said the cost of ram is also determined by its size and location.

Abu said: “I left home at 5 a.m. yesterday to buy rams and cows for sale from Ado, and I returned home at 8 p.m. Some of the rams I purchased for N250,000 are of a size that would normally cost N400,000 to 500,000 in Lagos.

I also bought a few cows at N700,000 each for some customers on special order.

“The sizes of the cows I bought are sold between N1.2 to 1.5million in Lagos. Although it is cheaper there, transportation is expensive due to the poor road conditions. It costs between N110,000 and N120,000 to transport one cow from there to Iyana Ipaja.

Another ram seller, Hafiz Remilekun, stated: “Here in Lagos, for example, the medium size ram is around N500,000, and we have those sold for N700,000 and 1.5 million here in Lagos. I sold two different rams, 1.7m and 1.5m, yesterday; both are homebred. The smaller ram that looks like a goat costs between 200,000 and 250,000 naira.”

Meanwhile, inquiries across motor parks showed that fewer people are travelling this time due to the high cost of transportation, which is four times higher than it was last year.

Specifically, people travelling to Ilorin, Ibadan, Oyo and northern states where there is a high concentration of Muslims are paying higher than they paid last year.

The situation has made some intending passengers to opt for sending gifts home to their loved ones rather than travelling.

From Lagos to Ilorin, which was N11,000 is now N15,000; Lagos to Ibadan is now N8,000; Lagos to Oyo town is now N10,000; Lagos to Sokoto is now N30,000; Lagos to Kano is now N30,000; and Lagos to Abuja costs a whopping N25,000.


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