Ahead of the Ramadan, price of tomatoes, pepper and chilli pepper is on the rise in most markets in Lagos, according to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The survey revealed that a big basket of tomatoes, which sold for N15, 000 last week at the Mile 12, Iddo and Whitesand markets, now sells for N28, 000.
A medium-size basket of fresh pepper (tatashe) now costs N11, 000.00 from N10, 000.
A basket of chili pepper (rodo) now goes for N20, 000.00 against the N13, 000 it was sold last week.
The price of a jute bag of onions, however, dropped from N12, 500 last week to N9, 000.
A 20-litre keg of vegetable oil goes for N6, 300 against N6, 200, while a measurement of garri still remains at N300.
The various brands of 50-kilogramme bag of rice range from N7, 000 to N12, 000.
A 120-kilogramme bag of beans costs N26, 000 from the N24, 500 it was sold in the previous week.
At Iddo market, a bucket of white grains costs N6, 000, while the same measurement for red grains goes for N7, 000.
Traders attributed the price rise to high cost of transportation, the lingering fuel scarcity and off season for perishable food items as reasons for the increase in the price of food items.
Mr Femi Odusanya, the spokesman for Mile 12 Traders Association, urged the Federal Government to invest more in the agriculture by establishing more mechanised farms.
“Government needs to invest more in mechanised farming because most of the food items in the markets are cultivated by peasant farmers.
“Most of these farmers have just little farm lands and lack the resources for large plantation.
“Mechanised farming will make farm produce to be available in large quantities, even in their off seasons and the prices will not be ridiculously expensive.
“Till the government does the right thing by shifting attention to agriculture, the citizens will continue to groan under the pressure of costly food items.”
Alhaji Mohammed Tijani, a beans seller, attributed the high price of beans to the ongoing planting season and increased demand for the item because of Ramadan.
“Price of beans keeps increasing because of its high demand against the forthcoming Ramadan period.
“A lot of families are purchasing it for the purpose of making ‘’moi-moi or akara’’ after breaking their fast in the evening.
“More so, there is reduced supply of beans to the market because farmers are not harvesting but planting now.”
Some customers at the markets lamented the sharp increase in price of food items and the reduced quantities of items displayed in the market.
Mrs Tina Nzeribe, a customer, said: “Pepper is too expensive; just six to eight pieces of tomatoes displayed at N200, definitely I cannot use N1, 000 to make a pot of stew for my family of six’’.
“Plantain and yam are now luxury items beyond my budget. Three small pieces of plantain that look like banana are displayed at N200, while a medium-size yam costs N800.
“Where is the hope of the masses? Definitely, starvation is imminent for most families because food items are outrageously expensive