Mrs. Chioma Ifunanya Yam Seller, Ose Main Market, Onitsha SALES have been horrible these days. By this time last year, we had started making good profit from sales of old yam, especially sampaper (a specie of yam), which we usually buy as early as February and store until April when we sell them at premium. Currently, there is no market for them as they complain there is no money to meet rising prices. The prices of foodstuffs are going up astronomically. It becomes more painful that in spite of this, I still spend daily on increased transport fares. It’s heartrending, yet government has no answer to the plight of the masses. We are suffering here. Mrs. Orjiugo Muoneke Yam trader, Marine road, Ose, Onitsha Things are very tight. People don’t have money and can hardly afford three square meals a day; sales are poor as a result. The few ones that come to the market want to buy yam below the cost price. The tension now is that the new yam will soon be out and all attention will be diverted to it because it’s cheaper than the old ones. You can see the heap of yam here. If we cannot sell them, it will be a great loss. As at last year, we sold the same set of yam for N600, but now we are selling for N400, yet the buyers could not afford to pay. Generally, things are bad. I used to cook a rich pot of soup with N2000 but not again because, I spent over N3000 for the same quality of soup. Mrs. Onwuegbunam Rebecca Cassava and Maize flour Trader, The price of foodstuffs in the country is steadily going up. It has affected the amount I spent on feeding. But the trend doesn’t seem to be the same with cassava and maize flour. Though sometime this year, the price of maize flour went up, that of cassava has been the same – it doesn’t go up, rather has been stable for some months now. For instance, the price of maize flour per tin from January to April was N1,100 but now, it’s sold for N1000 per tin (Four paint buckets), while cassava stands at N500. Soya bean was at N750 and dropped to N700. Also a bag of cassava was then sold for N6,000 but now N5,000. The reduction in the price of cassava is traceable to mass cultivation of cassava in this part of the country. There was high scarcity of cassava last year, and this prompted a number of people to go into its cultivation. Though this helped to reduce the cost, the increase in price of foodstuffs started after the fight in the north. Most of these products are being brought from there. Friday Agbo Meat Seller, Ose-Okwaodu Market, Onitsha Cow is still expensive in the market though is coming down gradually due to the rainy season. But it should have come down well by now. We buy cow based on the size – smaller the size, the lower the price. Government should invest in livestock and agricultural production so that there would be food in the land. Borders are to be opened for more importation of cow. This will bring about healthy competition and the prices will fall. For now, people come to market, price the meat but in the end, they won’t buy because the items are expensive. We used to buy a big cow for N80, 000 or N90, 000 but today, the same goes for about N180, 000 or N200, 000. Mrs. Julianne Akpamgbo Oil seller, Marine road, Ose We produce oil yet it’s still expensive. Where are we going to in this country? Nobody seemed to be looking into affairs of the masses in the country. The price of every food item is going up. I am unable to stock my shop the way I want; there is no money for me to do that. Let the government print money and share to the poor, especially the widows. We are suffering too much. Mrs. Benedicta Enweozor Sells okra at Marine road, Ose I have been idle since morning that I came to market. This place does not look as if buying and selling is going on. I have been in this business for the past 20 years. I have never experienced what is happening today. Things are going up but okra is coming down because of the rainy season yet people cannot buy. Some of these products are seasonal and their prices are seasonal too. Before the rain, we used to buy a bag of okra for N5,500 but it is sold for N4,000 today. Let government rise up to their responsibility. We are not going to sell our children for us to eat. Miss. Chinonso Nwaogu Sells banana at Ajasa, Ose Bananas are also very expensive now. The major problem here is that the Hausas who bring them to us, do not have a strong bargaining power. They transfer the cost to us. Also, the demand for banana is very high. They pay over N100,000 on transportation alone whether or not the vehicle is full, which also has affected the amount we sell. This is why you could buy a bunch of five bananas for N200. This is against what we sell at normal times. Chukwujekwu Mba Trader at Ajasa, Ose Foodstuff prices are rising indiscriminately. The dried fish I used to sell for N150 is now N200. The same goes to crayfish. Then, a paint bucket of crayfish sold for between N1000 and N1100 but now N1400. We still have customers, but they do not find it easy. At times, the ones that used to buy full paint bucket now settle for half. This is not the best time for businessmen and women in Onitsha but we are keeping faith. Ibrahim Abubakar Onion seller, Ose Things are expensive but onions are getting better. There was a time this year, when we sold a medium size of onion for N100 but now four pieces of that same size go for N50. Then, there was problem with flooded farms in the north. Orjiugo Nwanyi Sells vegetables There is much vegetable now. Vegetables are of different varieties competing with one another. The excessive supply of vegetables has affected its prices. A bundle of green (Amarantus) could be sold for N50 or N100. We are in the rainy season and this is the time most vegetables flourish. Most times, lack of patronage brings about spoilage of vegetable that attracts high prices during the dry season. Moreover, the price of plantain is not that bad; it is still affordable. I sell the ripe ones more than the unripe because most people prefer that.
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