Foodstuff prices in steady decline across South West states as harvesting begins

Ibadan, July 15, 2017 (TNE):  As the harvest season commences across  many South West states, the prices of some food crops are witnessing a steady free fall, a market survey conducted by  The Nigerian Expression (TNE) has revealed.
 
This, however, is the general trend across the country, a development attributed to various interventions put in place by the Federal Government, and more people embracing farming.
 
TNE also reports that the prices of  some other produce, however, remain stable or  even on the upward swing.

At Bodija Market in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mr Seyi Ebenezer, a gari seller, said that the price of the popular staple  made from cassava has gradually been reducing.
 
Ebenezer said that a bag of gari, which previously sold for N25,000 and  a measure for N250,  is now sold for N22,000 a bag  and  N230 a measure.
 
A yam seller, Mrs Sidikat Banu, also said that six  tubers of yam previously sold for N2,000 now go for N1,300.
 
Mrs Rabiatu Adewale,  a dealer in  maize and guinea corn, however, said  the prices remain unchanged  at N18,500 and N18,000 a bag respectively.
 
This, she said, may be due to the fact that recently harvested maize and guinea corn are yet to flood the  market.

Mr Saheed AbdulAzeez, a beans seller, told TNE  that the price of a big bag of  white beans  has remained high in the last few months  at  N30,000 while  a measure goes for N500.
 
AbdulAzeez said that a small bag of honey beans (Oloyin) sells for N28,000 while  a measure  is N750.
 
AbdulAzeez said that the price of beans is on the high side because the food crop is usually harvested toward  the end of the year.
 
In Ogun, the survey  shows that while prices of some food crops fell,  some remained either unchanged while others went up.

At the Ota main market, the survey indicates  that the price of the locally produced rice, known as Ofada, has reduced.

An  8.2 kg bag  of ‎ the rice now sells for N4,000 as against N6,500 in April.
 
The state Chairman of the Rice Farmers’ Association, Mr Bode Adenekan, said  the price would further reduce as the harvest season  progresses.

“Some of the rice farmers have started harvesting but when we get to the peak of the harvest season by August and September, rice will flood the market and prices will crash,” he said.

The price of gari has also reduced in various markets in Abeokuta as a measure
 which sold for N400 in May,  now sells for N200.
 
The popular gari  Ijebu,  which is usually in high demand  and which was sold for N500 in May,  now sells for N350.
 
A bag of the more common  gari now sells for N15,000 as against N17,000 in May.

Just as in other markets in the South West Zone, the price of beans remains on the high side with a  big bag now selling  for N39,000‎ as against N24,000 during the pre-harvest season at Panseke market in Abeokuta.

‎Mr Michael Omeh, one of the traders, hinged the development on  scarcity of beans, saying 
planting has just commenced.

“By this time, we hardly get beans from the farmers. Rather we get them from the middlemen who are now gradually supplying their stored beans into the market.

“Prices of beans are expected to go down as from November because planting will commence by July ending as farmers are now clearing their lands in preparation for planting,” he said.

The prices of yam have remained unchanged  at Lafenwa and Kuto markets in Abeokuta in spite of the fact that the newly harvested yams are being supplied to the markets.

Six big tubers of  new yam sell for between N6,000 and N6,500 while the medium size for the same number sell for between N3,500 and N4,000.

A trader at Kuto market,  who identified himself  simply as Musa,  expressed optimism that the price of  newly harvested yams would still go down as supply increases at the height of harvest.
 
In Ekiti State, prices of new yam and maize are tumbling as new produce has flooded the markets.

Mrs Bosede  Olajubu, a yam dealer at Odo Iro, a community near Ado-Ekiti,  said the price of the food product is coming down.
 
Olajubu, however,  said that in spite of the availability of the new product, the old yams maintain the pre-harvest price as many prefer them because ‘”they are sweeter”.
 
She  said that the price of old yams is at an average of  N3,500 for a bunch of  five tubers, depending on their sizes.
 
At  Odo Oro-Ekiti,  a major yam producing settlement in Ikole Local Government Area, the price of the new yam has attracted many buyers.
 
The Chairman of  Ajebamidele Market  in the town, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, said five tubers of  big yams now sell  for as low as N800, compared to the old price of N2,500 .
 
“As you can see, we have more than enough new yams  ready for sale, this shows that we can feed  the nation and even embark on  export.
 
“I can assure dealers from across the country that if they want to buy more than 15 lorry-loads  at cheaper rate, we have them ready in stock,”  he said.
 
At Bisi Market in  Okeyinmi, an executive member of the Market  Women Association, Mrs  Mojisola Adeniyi,  confirmed  that the influx of new farm produce has forced down prices.
 
Mr Toluwalope Ajayi, a  resident of Ado-Ekiti, however,  maintained that  the price of yam crashed when many  consumers  abandoned the product for maize.
 
She said that the rainy season had made many foodstuffs  to be available in the market due to a good harvest.
 
In Osogbo, the Osun capital, the price of gari has reduced from N400 a measure to N250 in major markets.
 
The Chairman of  All Farmers Association of Nigeriav(AFAN) in Osun,   Mr Kayode  Afolabi, expressed optimism that there would soon be a  crash in the prices of food stuffs as the harvest season has just set in.

Afolabi said  prices of  foodstuff  like maize, guinea corn and onions  are already  falling due to their ready availability.

According to him,  it has become the  trend that when certain food crops are harvested and are available in the market, their prices  come down in line with the  laws of demand and supply.
 
He said as soon as more crops  like yam, cassava, beans and others are  harvested, their prices  would automatically come down.

The prices of some commodities, however, remain unstable while others even recorded an increase.

Mrs Taye Babatunde,  a trader  at Oja-Tuntun Market, Ile-Ife said  a bag of local rice now goes for N17,000 as against the old price of N15, 000.

Babatunde said that  a measure  now goes for N800 against  the initial N600.

She  added that the  price of imported rice has  increased from N15, 000 to N16,500 per bag depending  on the grain, while  a  measure is being sold for N600  as against the old price of   N500.
 
In Ondo State, the improvement in local production of rice may not have translated to cheaper prices.
 
Mr Sunday Uwaifo, a rice farmer at Ogbese, Akure North Local Government area of the state, expressed satisfaction that local rice is “steadily regaining popularity in Nigeria and it is now readily available in most homes.
 
Uwafo, who has 20-hectare rice plantation, commended the Federal Government for its support to rice farmers through the Fadama programme through which farmers receive inputs.
 
However, Mrs Iyabo Ajakaye, a rice seller in Oja’ba Market in  Akure, complained that “although local rice is more available in the market this year, it is more expensive than what obtained last year.”

“Last year, a bag of local rice sold for N8, 000 but it is now selling  at between N11, 000 and N12,000.

“This is a big challenge for us as traders. Price of imported rice is not going up anymore, so why should the price of the one we grow locally go up? 

“This development is not helping us at all  because our customers will prefer to buy imported rice if the price differential  is not much.

“So, I will advise the government to step up efforts to ensure that the price of local rice is reduced so that it will be more affordable for the masses,” Ajakaye said.(TNE)
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