Xmas Celebration : Price of food stuffs higher as Traders lament low patronage
Okunade Adekunle and Adeola Ogunrinde
In less than 24hrs to this time, christians across the country would be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Expectedly, the celebration is followed with glamour, style, fun and alot of leisure activities among family members, relatives and friends but from all indications nigerians may not be able to celebrate the yuletide the way they have been celebrating it because of the unstable economy, inadequate security and other sociological factors that constantly hinder successful celebration of yuletide in a country like Nigeria where a citizen according to United Nations lives below a dollar per day.
It is obvious that the state of the economy and the low purchasing value of the country’s currency had made bear on both the demand and supply of food stuffs currently in food markets. In this wise, the financial strength of consumers reflect on the patronage level of traders in most of the markets visited by Westernpost this afternoon.
In the popular food market, Mile 12, in Kosofe local government area of Lagos, both the traders and consumers who spoke with WESTERNPOST lamented on the high cost of goods and low consumers patronage, which they argued were caused by the poor state of the economy. They argued further that the purchasing power of the currency has depreciated to the extent that the worth of the goods purchased does not commensurate with the purchasing price.
One of the traders, Mrs Taiwo Adelaja, who sells food stuffs like semolina, semovita, bags of rice, yaw flour and garri, stated that she was running at loss, arguing further that customers could not afford the current prices.
Adelaja lamented further that there was low patronage of semovita because many of the customers preferred yaw flour which was more cheaper to afford.
The trader who claimed to have been in the business for almost 10years, stressed that last year patronage was higher than this year.
“Currently, I am running at loss because people are not coming to patronise my shop. Even those that come could not afford the price. I even persuade them but as they don’t have enough money to buy the goods , what would I do?” said Adelaja
” Help us to beg government to do something concerning our economy so that people will have money to buy what we are selling. Customers complain alot that they don’t have money “, added Adelaja
Another trader, Alhaja Aminat Odusanya, lamented on the charges and levies they were charged in the market during the christmas period, saying that local government should help in reducing the charges because of low turnout of customers which affects their profitability.
Odusanya stated that for the last one week she could not boast of 7 patronages in a day, adding further that she always make up to 15 patronages during yuletide in previous years.
” This year is somehow, ordinarily in one week upto 15 customers always patronise my shop in a day but now, hardly we see 7 customers. During yuletide last year, by now I have made more sales despite the poor economy at that time too”, said Odusanya
In the same Mile 12 market, further investigation revealed that a basket of pepper( tomatoes) which was N10,000 in the mid year is now sold for N13,000. A basket of pepper (Rodo) which was sold N3,000 before , is now sold for N5,000.
Further investigation revealed that a small bag of beans formerly sold at N23,000 is now sold at N28,000 and a bag of big rice is sold for N16,000 instead of N14,500.
In Ikotun market, a bag of tiny rice is sold for N17,000 unlike last year when it was sold for N16,000. Groundnut oil 25litres (refill) is sold for N11,000 while groundnut oil 25litres ( seal up) is sold for N12,000.
Further investigation was done in the part of the market where frozen foods are sold. It was discovered that full chicken is sold for N1,300 instead of N1,200. The cost of live chicken varies based on their size. Some are sold for N4,000 while some are sold for N7,000 and N6,000.
One of live stocks seller who identified himself as Seun, in Ikotun market, stated that although customers patronise his shop but that some who he knew that yearly they buy upto 5 chickens to 6 chickens from him were not able to buy up to that anymore as they complained of no money.
Seun added ” Like yesterday, I sold upto 8 chickens before 6pm but today as we are around 2pm now I have not sold up to 3. Some came yesterday that they would come today but I have not seen them at all. Those that have been coming cannot buy the chikens because they can not pay their price”
In Egbeda market, price of chickens did not change much. Local chicken sells between 2,000 to 3000 depending on the type while the bigger chicken sells between 3,500 to 4,000 naira.
Speaking to market women at the market, some were impressed at the turn out of sales, saying it improving since tomorrow is Christmas.
Mrs Jaiye, who came to buy chicken at Egbeda market told Western Post reporter that there was no much difference between last year price and this year price but the price of rice has increased due to the unavailability of lake rice.
She urged the Lagos State Government to do more on the provision of lake rice.
In the area of provision of security through the state on the yuletide, When the Lagos State Police Command was contacted through its PPRO, Mr Chike Otti (CSP), he said he does not have time to answer questions on such trivial issue.