By Oluwafunke Ishola/Rukayat Abu
Lagos – Prices of some food items like tomatoes, beans and onions have increased in Lagos markets ahead of the annual Ramadan by Muslims, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
A survey by NAN on Monday at Mile 12, Iddo and Oyingbo Markets, showed that a 40kg basket of tomatoes, which previously cost N16, 500 in April now goes for N30, 000.
A 50kg basket of chili pepper increased from N12, 000 to N16, 000; and a basket of ‘tatashe,’ (pepper) rose from N13, 500 to N17, 000.
Similarly, a 100kg bag of beans rose from N34, 500 to N38, 000; a jute bag of onions which previously sold for N18, 000 now costs N22, 000, while a 50kg bag of rice ranges between N13, 000 and N17, 000, depending on the brand.
In the same vein, a 100kg bag of maize ranges between N15, 000 and N19, 000; while a paint measure of ‘garri,’ increased to N400 from N350.
Traders at the markets attributed the price increases to seasonal factors, migration of farmers arising from insecurity and increase in transportation costs.
Emeka Ndubuisi, a beans seller at Oyingbo, said the Ramadan season was also a factor that contributed to the increase in the price of beans.
According to her, most people purchase beans to make ‘akara’ (bean cake) and ‘moi-moi’ (another local delicacy) for the fasting period.
Mr Femi Odusanya, Spokesperson of Mile 12 Market Perishable Food Traders Association, said it was imperative to train farmers to adopt modern technology in crop production, and empower them with funds.
“Over 80 per cent of farmers are into subsistence farming. We need to train them on the latest technology in crop production, so that they can cultivate all-year-round.
“Eva F1 technology for cultivation of tomatoes is a new initiative of Green House modern farming technique that will encourage farmers to produce because the yields are big.
“Embracing this would reduce the pressure placed on consumers to spend more money for the purchase of food items during off-season, and would even reduce the inflation rate of prices of our foodstuffs.
“Apart from training the farmers, we need to empower them with funds.
“All the funds lying idle at the Bank of Agriculture should be given to genuine farmers, who would use the money effectively to increase the country’s food production,” he said.
Odusanya urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment toward increasing investment in mechanised farming and agro-processing in the country.