Prices Of Commodities Drop After Christmas Celebrations

Food stuffs market

December 31, 2017//-Prices of commodities such as fresh tomatoes, pepper and onions, which soared significantly during the Christmas celebrations appeared to witness a decline during the week.

The situation, however, saw consumers still groaning as majority of them interviewed opined that fresh tomatoes and pepper were still expensive when compared to what were sold before the yuletide period.

The same could also be said about the traders who sell soup condiments as they blamed the hike to high cost of transportation caused by fuel scarcity and high demand by customers usually associated with the season.

Nonetheless, findings from a market survey by the Business and Market Intelligence Unit of INDEPENDENT showed that prices of condiments dropped by over 15 and 30 percent in some locations from what was sold previously.

During the week, checks at the Ogbeogologo and Abraka markets, Delta State, indicated that prices of fresh tomatoes, pepper and onions also experienced a marginal drop.  With a big basket of fresh tomatoes currently selling for between N10,500 and N11,000 as against between N12,500 and N13,500  sold last week.

Likewise, that of fresh pepper which went for N14,000 during the Christmas celebrations attracted N13,000 within the review week.

Mallam Ibrahim who trades in the produce at the Ogbeogologo Market, Asaba, blamed the hike on the fuel crisis which bedeviled the nation since last week with the attendant adverse effect on their purchases and that of the consumers.

This is just as Madam Esther who came to purchase food condiments at the Ogbeogologo Market, Asaba, said she was taken aback at the sudden rise in their prices, ascribing it to high cost of transportation caused by fuel scarcity and poor supply.

In the same vein, that of Ose Market, Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra state, also witnessed a slight decrease as a bag of fresh pepper that was previously sold for N13,500 last week reduced by over 8 percent to  between N12,500 and N13,000 depending on the size of the bag and the haggling power of the buyer.

The same goes for a basket of fresh tomatoes, declining to N10,000 from N11,500 sold during the Christmas celebrations owing to scarcity arising from inadequate supply of the produce caused by hike in transportation fare.

Again, at the Oba Market, Benin City, prices of fresh tomatoes and pepper also experienced a marginal downward trend. With the prices of a basket of fresh tomatoes ranging from N8,500 to N9,000 against  between N9,500 and N10,000 sold last week representing a 9 or 10 percent decrease while that of fresh pepper currently goes for N13,000 down from N13,500 sold last week.

Garuba, a pepper seller, told INDEPENDENT that high demand occasioned by consumers during the yuletide celebrations coupled with scarcity of fuel were responsible for the increase.

The situation was the same at the Kings Market, Ado-Ekiti, as a big basket of fresh tomatoes that skyrocketed to N11,000  last week from N5,000 sold before the Christmas celebration, finally dropped  by over14 percent to N9,500 during the review week.

Similarly, that of a big bag of fresh pepper reduced slightly to N16,000  during the week from  N17,000 sold  in the yuletide period. However, most of the traders were of the opinion that the prices were still on the high side but there was nothing they could do as the cost of transporting the produce from the North went up further due to fuel scarcity.

Still, at the Bodija Market, Ibadan, prices of condiments also witnessed a slight drop from what was sold during the yuletide season. For example, a basket of fresh tomatoes that went for between N10,500 and N12,000 during the Christmas celebrations declined to between N7,500 and N8,000, a 29 per cent reduction while that of fresh pepper also declined to N8,000 from N9,000 sold initially.

Alhaji Idris who trades in the produce said that prices of fresh tomatoes and pepper would definitely crash the more once the issue of fuel scarcity is resolved.

He also added that with the gradual onset of the season of plenty, prices of the produce would certainly decline further.

Nevertheless, prices of fresh tomatoes, pepper and onions seemed to be cheaper and favourable in the North when compared with what obtains in other regions.

However, the yuletide period and fuel scarcity also had an adverse effect on traders and consumers purchases.

For instance, at the Wuse Market, Abuja, a big basket of fresh tomatoes that was initially sold for between N4,000 and N5,000 prior to the Christmas celebrations and fuel scarcity, went up to  between N7,000 and N7,500 but declined to N6,000 during the week, a situation which traders attributed to low demand and patronage.

Also, that of fresh pepper big bag declined to N4,000 from N6,000 sold during the yuletide period.

Furthermore, at Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, checks at the popular Mile 12 Market revealed that prices of condiments were at a downward trend after experiencing an upsurge during the Christmas celebrations.

For instance, a big basket of fresh tomatoes sold for between N12,000 and N13,000 during the yuletide period declined to between N7,500 and N8,000 as at December 29,2017, thus, recording a whopping variance of between N4,500 and N5,000 representing 38 percent drop.

Gbenga Abu who sells the produce at the Mile 12 market linked the fall to improved supply from the North and increase in the number of trucks offloading the produce at the said market.

Meanwhile, prices of onions, which had been on steady rise for sometime, finally declined marginally as  the price of a big bag  currently goes for  between N25,000  and N30,000  in most of the markets visited as against  between N35,000 and N40,000  sold initially. Although, this depends on the size of the bag, location, and the bargaining power of the buyer

Further investigations, however, revealed that the worst hit were people who procure the produce in smaller quantities as the drop in their prices did not reflect significantly in their purchases. 

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