Consumers lament as prices of common garri, other foodstuffs spike in Enugu state major markets


Maureen Ojinaka
Enugu, July 11, 2020 The prices of some food items have continued to soar in Enugu major markets midway to rainy season.

A market survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria seen by in some major markets in Enugu on Saturday showed that prices of foodstuffs had increased by about 45 per cent.

At Ogbete Main Market food section, a bag of white and yellow garri, which cost N14,000 and N16,500 respectively in April, now sold at N18,000 for the white while the yellow goes for N21,000.

Also a big bag of onions which previously cost N12,000 now goes for between N19,000 and N22,000 while fresh pepper which was previously sold at N8,000 a bag now goes for N10,000.

The survey revealed that the prices of yam tubers had gone high in all the major markets as a sizeable tuber of yam, which previously cost N400 now goes for between N700 and N900, depending on the specie of yam.

A garri dealer at Ogbete market, Mrs Lucy Azubike, said that the increase in price of garri was due to its off season as planting of cassava was ongoing in the state.

“Before March, garri was in abundance but is usually costly during the rainy season because it is cassava’s planting season.

“We do not usually practice preservation of agricultural produce which makes food to be much in the market all year round. So the prices of foodstuffs tend to increase during every planting season,” Azubike said.

Mr Ebuka Njoku, a yam seller at New Market, also attributed the price increase of yam to its scarcity as a result of its planting season.

Mrs Ngozi Nwosu, a resident of Achara Layout, said that because of the high cost of yam, she had switched to sweet potatoes, saying that potato was more affordable.

The survey also showed that the price of palm oil had also increased as 20 litres of palm oil now sold at N14,000 as against N9,500 three weeks ago.

Miss Joy Ikem, a Palm Oil Dealer at Garki Market, said that many dealers were hoarding palm oil as palm oil fruits were gradually going off season.
Some garri sellers attributed the price hike to scarcity of cassava due to off-season of the tuber.

Felicia Ozoemena, a garri seller at New market, said that the price of a 4.5 litres bucket of white garri that was sold for N350 before, now cost N650.

Miss Ozoemena also said that a 4.5 litres bucket of red garri goes for N900 as against the previous price of N550.

Another garri dealer at Garki market, Uche Igwesi disclosed that a bag of garri previously selling at N14,000 is now selling at N22,000.

“The prices of foodstuffs like garri are always high during planting season but during the harvest period, they become cheaper.

“Due to lack of facilities to preserve the produce after harvesting, many produce go bad, therefore, leading to prices hike,’’ Mr Igwesi said.

Another seller at Mayor Market, who did not want to be identified, said that the increase in prices was because many people had left farming.

“When many farmers went into cassava farming in 2017, the price of garri dropped significantly,’’ she said.

A buyer at Ogbete Main Market, Ngozi Egwu, expressed worry at the sudden rise in the prices of garri, adding that there was no much money in circulation.

A farmer, Onwuka Ndubisi urged the public to embrace cassava farming so that there would be surplus of garri in the next harvest season.

“Surplus of cassava would definitely bring about crash in the price of garri if we all go into cassava farming, Mrs Egwu said.

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