Katsina residents groan over hike in prices of grains

"Old Delhi, India - January 5, 2009: Shop selling many different types of pulses and grain. Pulses and grain form a key part of many Indian dishes and shops like this do good business."
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Some residents of Katsina State, have expressed concern over the sudden increase in the prices of grains, sparking panic buying by some dealers.

An investigation conducted on Thursday at some major grain markets like Dandume, Dayi and Charanchi in Katsina, showed that the price increase started about two weeks ago.

The grains mostly affected by the increase are maize, guinea corn, beans, millet and soyabeans.

They blame the increase on some farmers who recently harvested their maize, millet and soyabeans, while guinea corn and beans were still at farms in some parts of the state.

This move had instilled apprehension in the minds of people, particularly the poor, who use the produce as their staple food.

NAN reports that a bag of maize, which was sold at N18,000, now costs N20,000, while in some other places it is sold at N22,000 and above.

A bag of white guinea corn costs N16, 000, as against the former price of N14, 000; a bowl (mudu) of white guinea corn goes for N400, while red guinea corn which was N16,000 now costs N18, 000, while its mudu goes for N450.

The survey further showed that a bag of beans which was sold at about N29,000 now costs N32,000, while one mudu goes between N750 and N800.

A bag of millet which was sold at N18,000 now costs N20, 800, while its mudu is now N520.

NAN gathered that the prices of the produce mentioned are higher in other markets within the state.

Alhaji Haruna Muhammad, a grains dealer, said that the development is frightening even though price increase is not new.

“We saw some people in Dandume market buying the grains in large quantities which is unusual.

“Some people attributed the development to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy to redesign Naira notes.

“These people don’t want to take their money to the banks, but prefer to engage in panic buying of grains and selling same later at higher costs,” Muhammad said.

Malam Aliyu Umar, a respondent, attributed the hike in price to the limited quantity of crops, particularly maize, planted during the wet season because of the high cost of fertilizer.

“They want to buy the produce, hoard, bring them out and sell at higher prices in future,” he said.

Alhaji Abdurrahman Sale, an interested person, said that the security challenges in the country contributed to the rise in the prices of the farm produce because many farmers were hindered from engaging in farming activities.

He, therefore, called on the people to continue to pray to Allah to bring relief and put a stop to the insecurity that had bedeviled the state and the country in general.