Sallah: Prices of food items soar in Lagos markets

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As the 2024 Eid Kabir celebrations approach, the prices of perishable and non-perishable food items have soared in major markets in Lagos by over 300 per cent.

A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria in major markets (Mile 12, Oyingbo, Surulere and Ajah) on Tuesday and Wednesday showed that prices of all food items jumped by almost 400 per cent in some cases within the space of one year.

A 50kg basket of tomatoes which was sold for N35,000 in 2023 has risen to N100,000 at Mile 12 and as high as N120,000 in high-brow areas of Lekki and Ajah.

The price of a 50kg bag of Scotch Bonnet popularly known as “rodo” or “atarodo” pepper jumped by over 600 per cent, selling for N120,000 against the previous N18,000.

Similarly, a 50kg basket of bell pepper also called “tatashe” rose to N95,000 from N21,000 while the same quantity of red chilli pepper also known as “bawa or shombo” rose to N110,000 from N22,000 in 2023.

The survey also showed that a 100kg basket of onions is now selling for N70,000, up from N25,000 in the period under review.

NAN also reports the price of a 50 kg bag of local rice which sold for N48,000 last year, currently goes for N65,000 while the same quantity of imported Rice pegged at N55,000 in 2023 is being sold between N80,000 and N90,000 depending on purchasing power.

Also, prices of animals used to celebrate the festival such as rams, cows and goats have soared astronomically.

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A medium-sized ram ranged from N350,000 to as high as N700,000, a cow ranged from N800,000 to N1,000,000 and a goat from N75,000 to N120,000 depending on bargaining strength.

Eggs and chickens have also jumped as a crate of egg which was N1,800 in 2023 was now N4,500 as of Tuesday and chicken of N8,000 now goes for N12,000 of old layers and N15,000 for broilers.

The Spokesperson for Mile 12 International Market, Lagos, Femi Odusanya, attributed the increasing prices in food commodities to high levels of insecurity for farmers.

According to him, farmers are no more farming because of banditry, kidnapping and wanton killing on farmlands across the country.

Odusanya added that the high cost of transportation also contributed greatly to the inflation currently being experienced on food items.

He said that the government at all levels would need to subsidise the entire agricultural value chain and provide adequate security to encourage more people to go into farming.

“The state government’s contributions to agriculture are abysmal and there should henceforth be competition in the area of comparative advantages at the state level.

“We have arable lands in all the states but the governors must do much more in the area of agriculture and reduce reliance on the largesse from the Federation Account Allocation Committee.

“You can count on your fingers the number of large-scale mechanised farmers we have in the country as it is in the developed climes.

Furthermore, to make agriculture attractive, we need to take the issue of value addition seriously by supporting local processing,” he said.

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Meanwhile, a cross-section of Nigerians have continued to bemoan the country’s current inflationary pressures and are seeking interventions from governments at all levels to mitigate its impacts on ordinary citizens.

A nutritionist, Fatai Akomolafe, stated that pockets of malnutrition incidences were beginning to crop up in different parts of the country.

Akomolafe noted that when citizens were not able to afford a basic meal consisting of critical nutrients, different forms of sicknesses and diseases were bound to attack the body.

“Ordinary egg, which is supposed to be one of the cheapest sources of protein, is now almost N200. You cannot even imagine the price of soya beans, beans and other sources of proteins such as beef and chicken.

“When vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates become luxury for the common man, then sickness becomes the norm and with the japa syndrome the country is currently facing, we do not have enough doctors to address sicknesses that plague people as a result of malnutrition.

“The time for local, state and Federal governments to find means of getting critical food components to the needy is now to reduce the mortality staring us in the face,” he said.

A businesswoman, Charity Ephraims, stressed that the number of begging Nigerians on and off the streets had increased in the last year.

“Whether on suit or in rags, people begging to eat, begging to be transported, begging to buy drugs, have increased. One is even afraid to pick calls these days, particularly from home, because the needs are overwhelming.

“It has also become very fearful to go to the market these days because the price you met last Saturday is definitely different from what one would see this coming Saturday.

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“I wonder how those with high blood pressure are coping. May we not have incidences of people collapsing in markets once they hear the price of an item.

“We beg government to do whatever can be done to reduce the price of food as it is only a person who has eaten that is strong enough to be productive and contribute their quota to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), she said.

Alhaji Bala Tanko, a pepper trader, revealed that even as a seller, he could not afford to consume what he was selling at the price it was currently being sold at.

He urged the government to deploy more security surveillance to farm areas, particularly in the middle belt and the north, to match the forces of bandits and encourage farmers to return to feeding the nation.

Tanko also appealed for subsidised transportation systems and reduced levies to aid the transportation of food components across the country until prices become reasonably lowered.


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