Chinyere Anyanwu and Henry Uche
Prices of staple food items in markets across Lagos State rose to unprecedented levels over the last two weeks of COVID-19-induced lockdown now extended by two weeks by the Federal Government.
Checks at some markets across the state revealed that food items, though relatively available, have gone beyond the reach of most households.
At Mile 12 Market, a basket of tomatoes now goes for between N7,500, N8,000, N10,000 depending on its size as against the former prices of N3,500, N5,000 and N7,000 respectively. A small bag of carrots formerly sold for N15,000 has now now risen to N30,000 while a medium size basket of green pepper currently sells for N3,000 as against N2,000.
Similarly a medium sized tuber of yam sold for between N700 and N800 before the lockdown has risen to between N1,000 and N1,200.
At Iyana Iba Market, Ojo LGA, a paint of garri that sold for N500-N600 now sells for between N1,100-N1,500; while a medium sized tuber of yam that sold for N800 is now selling for N1,500. A derica cup of local rice that sold for between N250-280 is now selling for N380.
Daily Sun investigation at Ijedodo Market, Ojo LGA, shows that a paint of garri formerly sold for between N400 and N550 (white & yellow garri) now goes for between N800 and N1,000 respectively. A paint bucket of tomatoes that cost between N500 and N800 before the lockdown, depending on the size, now coasts N1,000, 1,500, 1,800 also depending on the size.
At the same market, a paint of pepper sold for around N400-N500 now sells for around N600-N700 respectively. A sizeable tuber of yam prior to the lockdown went for N500-N700 now goes for N700-N1,000. A kilo of fish that formerly cost N800 now costs N1,000; a kilo of chicken sold for N1,200 is now selling at N1,500 while a kilo of turkey going for N1,500 before the lockdown now sells for N1,700.
A 50kg bag of local rice at Ijedodo Market sold for between N17,000, and N21,000 now sell for between N19,500 and N23,000 respectively, depending on the brand. A medium sized bag of Semovita formerly sold at N3,000 is presently selling for N3,250.
A visit to Olaniyonu Market in Coker/Aguda LGA of the state revealed that a 50kg bag of foreign rice selling for between N22,000 and N23,000 before the lockdown is currently selling for N28,000-N29,000; local rice previously selling for between N19,000 and N22,000 is now going for between N22,000 and N23,000 depending on brand. A paint bucket of wheat formerly sold for N700 now sells for N900. A medium sized tuber of yam went from between N700 and N800 to N1,000-N1,200. A paint of egusi went from N1,200 to N1,700 while one sizeable frozen fish went from N700 to N1,000.
A vegetable seller who spoke with Daily Sun on condition of anonymity explained that the huge percentage of increase in prices of food items can be attributed, in part, to the high cost of transportation from point of purchase to the point of sale. She lamented that, “since this lockdown, the trouble we undergo and the cost of bringing back the food items to where we sell them is unbearable.
“Sometimes I pay up to N5,000 from Mile 12 to where I’m selling. To worsen matter, police harasses us even though the lockdown rule says vehicles carrying food items should be allowed to operate. On Friday, the vehicle I boarded from Mile 12 was arrested by police at a checkpoint and was dragged to the station. He paid N5,000 despite the fact that what was in the vehicle were food stuff. So all these raise the prices of food items.”