Barely one week to Christmas festivities, prices of foodstuff, especially local rice, have decreased considerably in some markets in Enugu State, newsmen report.
A survey conducted by newsmen in some markets in Enugu on Wednesday showed that different brands of local rice, including stoned and de-stoned as well as short and long grains, have flooded some markets in the state. A 50 kilogramme bag of local de-stoned rice sells between N10,000 and N12,000 as against N12,000 and N15,000, depending on the brand while a 25kg bag is sold at between N5,000 and N6,500 as against N7,000 and N9,000 sold two months ago. A rice farmer in the state, Mr Paul Edeani, attributed the development to the massive production of rice by farmers in the rural areas. Edeani said that rice farmers in the state had leveraged on the diversification policy of the Federal Government to grow more rice. He said that the patronage had been massive as residents of the state had resorted to using local rice due to improvement in quality. The farmer, however, expressed dismay at the deplorable condition of roads in some rural areas in the state, noting that it affected evacuation of agricultural produce from hinterland to the cities. One of the buyers, Mrs Joy Uba, said that she preferred local rice to foreign ones because “it is tasty, affordable and de-stoned.’’ But surprisingly, the price reduction did not affect the price of foreign rice as a 50 kg bag still sold at between N17,000 and N19,000 depending on the brand. A rice seller at the Artisan Market in Enugu attributed the problem to high transportation fares from Lagos to the state as well as issues with the Nigeria Customs while importing the product.
Meanwhile, price of tomatoes has continued to drop as a basket cost between N6,000 and N8,000 as against N12,000 and N15,000 sold during the rainy season. A cross section of the dealers at Akwata Market in Ogbete, Enugu, said that the reduction in price was because it was the season for the product. According to Uju Nwokeoma, tomatoes are harvested during dry season and this makes them available and affordable for everyone, unlike onions which grow during rainy season. However, prices of life chicken have soared across the state as a middle size goes for between N1,700 and N2,200 while big sizes go for between N2,800 and N4,000 as against N2,000 and N3,000. A chicken seller, Chima Ejiofor, attributed the increase to rising cost of feeds in the market. Similarly, prices of salad condiments, mainly carrots, green pepper and peas have also gone down across major markets.