As Christmas and New Year celebrations approach, traders across markets in Lagos State say prices of foodstuff have remained unstable.
According to traders, although prices of some food items had dropped, stability of the prices were uncertain.
Mr John Nwabueze, a trader at Iyana Ipaja Market, said that prices of rice, beans and garri (cassava flakes) had recorded a slight drop.
“At present, prices of food items are better than what we experienced last yuletide.
“Beans, garri and rice have reasonable prices now; it is probably only groundnut oil that is on the high side now.
“The basic items that are usually in high demand during the Christmas season – rice, beans, and garri have considerable fair prices now.
“A bag of long-grain rice is now N27,500 as against N30,000 two weeks ago. The short-grain rice now sells for N24,000 as against N25,000.
“A bag of beans right now is N25,000; two weeks or a month ago, we sold a bag for between N50,000 and N52,000, while a tin of beans that used to sell for between N700 and N800, is now N400,” he said.
According to him, the food items might cost more during Christmas celebration.
“The prices are still unstable,” Nwabueze said.
Mrs Dupe Yusuf, a rice seller at Daleko Market, said the price of foreign rice had dropped due to smuggling buy unpatriotic citizens ahead of Christmas celebration and New Year celebrations.
“The price of rice has come down a bit compared to two weeks ago, but the difference is not much.
“We now sell short-grain rice for N24,000; it was N25 000 before.
“Long-grain rice on the other hand is sold for N26, 000 or N26, 500 per bag, it sold for N30,000 per bag two weeks ago.
“We cannot predict the prices when it gets closer to Christmas Day because the prices are subject to change depending on availability and demand,” Yusuf said.
Mrs Tolupe Ajibade, a general foodstuff trader at Oyingbo Market, said that the prices could still increase or reduce.
“Five litre-refillable groundnut oil pack currently sells for between N4,500 and N5, 000, the price is still high.
“Five litres of palm oil sells for N4,000, it used to sell for N3,000 or N3, 500, months ago; the price is still high.
“The price of Semolina has gradually come down compared to weeks back, as a 10kg bag can now be bought for between N5,000 and N5, 300, it sold for N5,800 before.
“Garri is on the rise now, a paint bucket now goes for N1,000 or even N1,200; it used to sell for N800, A bag of Ijebu Garri now sells for N16,000 as opposed to the N13,000.”
According to her, the price of long-grain rice has reduced.
“It sold for N30,000 some weeks back but now sells for N27, 500 or N28, 000 per bag. The short grain now sells for N25 000 or N26, 000 per 50kg bag.
“The price of beans is also coming down, it now sells between N2,200 and N2,500 per paint bucket, which used to sell for between N3,000 and N3, 500. Cheaper species sell for N1,800.
“We are not sure how these prices will be at Christmas, they are likely to skyrocket when it is closer to yuletide because of the close of most companies and increased demand.
“Noodles are still expensive and the price goes up every two weeks.”
Ajibade told NAN that a carton of noodles sold for N3,000.
“A carton of Spaghetti now sells for N6,200; before we sold it for N6,400 or N6, 500,” Ajibade said.
A trader, who identified himself simply as Alfa, told NAN that the prices of food items this festive season would be unpredictable.
“Prices of most condiments such as seasoning cubes, salt, tomato paste, curry, and other spices are quite fair and stable now.
“We however cannot predict how the prices will be when it is close to Christmas Day, the prices may soar. We will sell as we buy,” the trader said.
An oil seller at Oke-Odo referred to as Mama Aisha lamented the high cost of both groundnut oil and palm oil.
She, however, hoped for brisk sales during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“Five liters of groundnut oil now sell for N4, 900; we sold it for N5, 000 last month.
“Palm oil now sells for N4,000 for 5 liters, we hope the prices will drop,” she added.
According to Mr Nnamdi Okoye who trades at Iyana Iba Market, a bag of garri now sells for N11,500 and a paint bucket of it goes for N800 or N900.
“A bag of garri used to sell for between N16, 000 and N17, 000 before now.
“At present, a paint bucket of corn sells for N800 as against N1,200,” he said, adding that the same measure of millet sold for N1,500, recently but could now be sold for N800.
“With these price reductions, I think Christmas celebration will be a remarkable one for Nigerians.
“However, some soup condiments are now expensive as a tin of melon seeds (egusi), sold for N600 in the recent past, is now N700, while a measure of dried pepper which was sold for N800 is now N900,” Okoye said.