Reports from Edo and Abia states indicate that prices of rice, garri, tomatoes, beef, ogbono and live chicken have increased less than 48 hours to the Christmas day celebration.
Markets in Benin, Edo state capital recorded the increment is due to hike in transportation fare and the yuletide season.
A small basket of tomatoes has gone up from N4, 000 to N6, 000 while a mudu of garri that was previously sold for N1, 800 is now sold for N2, 500.
A bag of 25kg of local rice is now sold at N29, 000 against N25, 000 while a cup of ogbono now goes for N800 as against N500, and a cube of seasoning has increased from N10 to N20.
A live chicken now sells for between N8, 000 to N12,000 as against N6,000 to N9,000 sold in 2020 while a kilogramme of beef now sells for N1,800.
Mrs Patience Aigbodion, a poultry farmer at Oregbeni market, said that prices of birds went up when compared to 2020 due to high cost of feeds and high mortality rate.
“I bought 100 birds three months ago to raise for Xmas sales but 70 died while only 30 survived.
“I spent more than N30, 000 to buy drugs for the birds before they died. I am not talking about profit but how to recover my capital.
“Patronage is not too encouraging because customers are complaining about no money to do shopping”, she said.
Another trader, Mrs Faith Osagie said that sales were booming in spite hike in prices of food items.
“We now sell four litres of groundnut oil for between N6,000 to N6,500 as against N5,000 to N5,500, while 4 litres of red oil is now sold for between N4,500 to N5,000 as against N3,000 to N4000.
“We were also selling half cartoon of frozen chicken for N10,000 but it has gone up to N13,000 due to the celebration.
“Patronage is encouraging and we pray it improves more than this before the 2022 new year day celebration”.
However, Mrs Stella Odiase, a Federal Government civil servant in Benin, expressed worries about the nonpayment of December salary, noting that she don’t have enough money to celebrate the season.
“I thought December salary would be paid before now so I can buy new Christmas cloths for my children.
“The prices of everything in the market have gone up and we need extra money to do shopping.
Some residents of Aba, Abia’s commercial nerve centre have bemoaned over 75 percent increase in price of food items since December began which had brought untold hardship to their families.
The residents said they can hardly feed their families as a result of the development.
Mrs Agnes Ebere, dealer on soup ingredients said that the items increased by over 70 percent which had made life unbearable for them and the buyers.
“In November, we bought a small paint tin of crayfish at N2, 400 but now it is at the rate of N3, 800 to N4000; a cup of Egusi and Ogbono are now N300 and N900 respectively as against N150 and N600 in November.
“A cup of pepper was N250 but now it is N300 and with these increases, it is very difficult to make gains.
“Because we bought at high prices, we add a little margin to enable us sell our goods or else it would perish in our hands.
“As a result, we find it difficult to make enough gains to take care of our family needs especially those of us who are women and are catering for our homes”, Ebere said.
Mrs Amarachi Odinakachi, a dealer on Onions said they were buying a basket for N12,000 but now it is sold for N22, 300.
“We are now working for those who sell to us because we do not always recoup our cost price and we make more losses now than in the past weeks”, she said.
She urged government to help ensure that the packaging will be standardized to reduce their losses.
Mrs Angela Ikechukwu, dealer on Stockfish head said they bought a bag for N60,000 in November but in December, it went up to N90,000.
She said that since she became a trader she had not seen salt price increase as it did this December with a bag earlier sold in November for N3,600 now sold for N5000.
Ikechukwu called on government to intervene in product pricing in Nigeria so that the things produced in Nigeria will be cheap and not as exorbitant as the imported ones.
Mr Chijindu Sunday said that a bag of groundnut which was sold at N50,000 before this Christmas season, is now sold for N88, 000.
He also said a bag of maize which they were buying at the rate of N16, 000 to N18, 000 is now sold at N25, 000 and more.
He said that the high cost of the food items has drastically reduced their gains and was affecting their capacity to take care of their families’ needs.
Sunday wondered why food products from Nigerian farmers cost so much as some imported food products and asked government to act in order to save the common man from being forced into untimely death.
Ms Precious Eze, a dealer on Eggs said a crate of eggs is no sold at N1,800 for jumbo size while the next grade is N1,700 and the smallest size is N1, 600.
She said that before November, the jumbo size was N1,600 with the other sizes cheaper than what they now cost stressing that the cost of food items are now beyond the reach of the common man.
She urged government to help reduce the cost of feeds which is directly affecting the price of chicken and eggs.