Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were not left out in Ramadan, most sacred month in the Islamic calendar. It is the period in which Muslims fast abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God. It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate.
They expressed worries over the increase in prices of foodstuffs, especially fruits. The rush for fruits especially in the evening hours for the breaking of fast affected its prices.
Some of the residents who spoke with our correspondent confessed that the prices of fruits increased by 50 per cent, during Ramadan due to high demand. The supply, however, was low because most suppliers were involved in the fast.
While others attributed it to the rainy season because farmers are into planting. Habiba Adamu, civil servant from Kuje agreed that prices of fruits drastically increased. She said apart from fruits, foodstuffs like grains, plantains and tomatoes increased by over 40 per cent: “A basket of tomatoes that was sold for N4000 in April, sold for N8000 and more.”
Joy Age from Maitama: “A ball of watermelon that we used to buy for N300, sold for N600.” Hajiya Mariam Usman from Dulse said the increase in prices of foodstuffs most especially fruits affected some families: “Fruits are among the foodstuffs that you can’t do without during fasting, and the increase in its prices was a problem because most families now did not have the purchasing power.
“A ball of watermelon that was sold for N300 before Ramadan sold from N500. Small basket of tomatoes that was sold N200 last month sold for N500. I don’t know why traders will just be increasing prices when they know the economic situation in the nation.”
Helle Adeh from Jabi said: “I stopped going to the market in the evening because that was when everything changed. Nobody would look at your face because those fasting were eager to buy and live. Traders used that opportunity to make more profits.”
A fruit seller in Wuse Market, Garuba Abubakar, said during the period the demand for fruits was high while the supply was low because those fasting consumed more fruits than any other period: “Some of the suppliers who were also involved in the fast would not like travel far during the period to get the fruits, so the supply was low.”
Another fruit seller in Nyanya, Salish Yaro, said: “The increase in prices affected the purchasing power of the residents. People who used to buy in large quantities started buying slices because of the prices.”
However, Mallam Nasiru Bello, a yam seller in Utako Market, said: “Ramadan has nothing to do with the increase in the prices of foodstuffs. During rainy season it is normal for foodstuffs prices to increase because it is farming period not harvesting.
“We all know that seasons also affect the prices of some foodstuffs. Like now we are in the rainy season people are planting not harvesting. Definitely the quantities of foodstuffs available will not be compared to what we had during dry season when we were harvesting.”