(From Rukayat Moisemhe, NAN)
With barely one week to Christmas, prices of perishable food items were observed to be plummeting, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
This was based on a survey conducted by NAN in four major markets including Mile 12, and Oyingbo, on Saturday in Lagos.
According to the survey, a 40 kilogramme (kg) basket of tomatoes, which was sold for between N20,000 and N25,000 two weeks back had dropped to N9,000.
The survey also showed that a 50kg Chilli pepper (Shombo) has now been pegged at N8,000 instead of its former price of N15,000.
Also, the price of a jute bag of scotch bonnet pepper was equally affected as it dropped from N40,000 to between N25,000 and N20,000 depending on one’s bargaining power.
Similarly, a jute bag of onions which was formerly N45,000 and scarce had also dropped to N25,000 and were readily available.
Also, a 50kg basket of bell pepper popularly known as Tatashe remained at N10,000 to N14,000 depending on one’s bargaining power.
Meanwhile, Mr Femi Odusanya, Spokesperson, Mile 12 Market Traders Association, attributed the situation to the items being in season and the efforts of the farmers in the North to address banditry.
“The harvest is part of it and beyond that, is the farmers having a way around the issue of insecurity by employing middlemen and intermediaries between farmers and the bandits by sorting them out financially.
“If the farmers had not used that approach, we might be facing a worrisome situation as people gear up to celebrate Christmas.
“Government needs to engage technology, and change its security architecture to give these farmers solace and support their lives and livelihood,” he said.
Malam Muazu, a dealer of perishable food items in Oyingbo market also confirmed the situation, saying that the intervention of the farmers and bountiful yields was responsible.
“Most of the farmers’ group arrange money and find a way to bribe the bandits through middlemen to allow them farm.
“The yield is much this time and if they did not do that, most of the items would go bad, and they lose out.
“Remember, many of these farmers took loans and grant to start off and they have to pay back.
“We are begging the government to do right by farmers and those in the North to give them some respite,”