BY ADERONKE ADEYERI
Prices of basic food items have increased in most markets in Lagos since the commencement of Ramadan fast. A visit to most of the food and fruit markets in Lagos reveals an increase in prices of fruits which are major needs of Muslims during the holy month. Prices of other basic food items like beans, yam, pepper, tomatoes, oranges and water melons have also gone up.
At Oke odo market, along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway where food items are mostly sold, prices of staple foods and fruits recorded about 50 percent increase with Ramadan barely in its first week..
One of the leaders of pepper seller in the market , Mallam Abdullahi said it was not a new phenomenon even to the retailers and consumers during Ramadan.
“A big basket of tomatoes, which before now sold for N7,500 is now N11,500, while a bag of chilli pepper popularly known as tatashe that was sold for N10,000 now goes for N12,000. We are used to this increase in the price of food commodities in this part of the world because the case has always been like this even before I joined the business”.
When asked the reason for this hike especially around this perio, he said: “We get pepper from the northern part of the country who are mainly Muslims and when we fast as northerners, we concentrate more on spiritual matters and work less during Ramadan. That is the major cause for the hike.
Also, the insurgency in the northern part of the country also contributed to the problem. “Although I don’t blame them for this hike and I know prices will still skyrocket . Nigerians should just adapt to it.”
A fasting Muslim sister and a foodstuffs seller, Mrs. Rukayat Abiodun, said that she could only buy half bag of rice and beans to resell instead of the two bags she had been buying weekly.
“It is because of there are more demand of fruits and foodstuff during Ramadan. The northerners who are the suppliers usually hike the prices during the month,” Abiodun said.
A customer, Mrs.Adijat Akudo, expressed displeasure at the hike in the price of foods as a result of the Ramadan.
“Every time the Ramadan is approaching, prices of food items will begin to increase, making some of items unaffordable.
“The price of a 25litre of groundnut oil has also increased from N6,000 to N6,100, while the 10-litre has increased from N2,400 to N2,500.
Contrary to all these, Alhaja Ajibade who owns a groundnut oil and rice depot said the hike in the price of groundnut oil has nothing to do with Ramadan, saying, “it was only coincidental.” A bag of rice of various brands now sells between N7,700 and N8,800 compared with the cost price of N7,400 to N7500 before now.
A carton of imported evaporated milk costs N6,400 up from N5, 300 as it was sold before Ramadan.
On fruits, Mrs. Adenike Abiodun, a fruit seller in Oke Odo market, said the price of dozen of big sized water melon had increased from N6,000 to N7,000.
She said “we get a trailer of water melon from Arewa village in Sokoto between N250,000 and N350,0000 and most times, these Mallams will fill the trailer with small sized water melon with only few big sized ones especially around this time. We have to sell what we buy in order not to run at a loss”.
“A small size of pineapple that went for N100 is now N200,” Akudo also stated.
The medium basket of orange now sells for N8,000 against the normal price of N1500 to N2, 000.
According to Afusat, three medium-sized orange now sell for N150 against N90 a month ago. Mrs. Ayorinde Bakare, another fruit seller in the same market, said the prices of all fruits will still sky rocket.