A recent market survey by DAILY POST in the state capital showed that both the poor and the rich are currently groaning under the weight of expensive food, a situation that has continued unabated, months on.
Food items sellers in the state have now attributed the increasingly high cost of the commodities to persistent insecurity and the difficulty of farmers in obtaining fertilisers for their farms due to its high cost.
The survey indicated that a bag of jumbo size local rice, which contains 100 measures (mudu), is now being sold for N51,000 as against the previous cost of N37,000
A bag of the same staple containing 80 measures no go for N48,000 compared to the old cost of N32,000 while a mudu of local rice is now sold at between N550 and N600 in the markets visited.
A bag of foreign rice, which was previously sold between N24,000 and N26,000, now goes for N35,000, while a mudu is between N900 and N1,000.
Before now, a mudu of imported rice was sold for between N750 and N800
The price of a bag of beans has skyrocketed to N70,000 as against the previous price of N50,000 while a mudu of beans is now N700 compared to the N500 it was previously sold for.
A bag of maize that contains 100 mudus is now sold between N37,000 and N38,000, while a mudu is sold at the rate of N380 and N400 respectively as against the N200 it was sold for before.
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A kilo of beef is now sold at N2,000. Before it was sold for N1,200. A piece of big fish goes for N500, while a small piece can be bought from N200 to N400. A kilo of fish is between N1,800 and N2,000
One carton of spaghetti cost N4,000 as against the N3,500 it was being sold before.
Despite being in season, a bag of Irish potatoes, which was before N10,000, now goes for N14,000.
Sweet potatoes is now sold at N15, 000 per bag as against the N9, 000 per bag it was sold before now, while a tuber of yam is now sold between N800 and N1,000 as against the N200 or N300 it was before.
The market survey found that a basket of tomatoes sells at N10,000 now as against the previous N6,000, a bag of pepper is at N20, 000. Onions, which recently turned to gold is now N15,000 per bag.
The commodity was sold recently as high as N58,000 per bag.
A crate of eggs previously sold for between N800 and N900 now goes between N1,500 and N1,600 depending on the size of the eggs.
A 25-litre of palm oil which was sold for N15,000 is now sold at N21,000, while a bottle now goes for is N600 only. A bottle of groundnut oil is sold between N850 and N900, while a 25-litre jerry can is sold at N26,000.
Speaking on the high cost of foodstuffs in an interview with DAILY POST, the Deputy Chairman, Bauchi State Foodstuffs Marketers, Sale Boko, said he was aware that many households can no longer afford to feed three times a day owing to the current high prices of food items.
He called on both President Muhammad Buhari and the state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, to urgently do something about the situation with a view to finding lasting solutions.
Boko attributed the high cost of food items to the high cost of fertilisers which farmers use on crops, submitting that, “High cost of fertilisers will definitely add to the cost of food items at the end of farming. Without fertilisers being affordable to farmers, they cannot farm and as such, there is no way foodstuffs can be sold at low prices.
“Farmers need fertiliser to farm but as it is now and with the high cost of the fertilisers, many farmers cannot farm and there is no doubt that the prices of foodstuffs will be high in markets nationwide.”
He added that insecurity in parts of the country is also contributing to the high cost of food, submitting that while insecurity in parts of the North is preventing farmers to either go to their farms or harvest what they had previously planted, those bringing food items like palm oil from the Southern part of the country are scared to come to the North due to the security situation.
He said except the government intervenes quickly to halt the price hikes, there might be a food crisis in the country by the end of this year’s farming season.
“Unless President Buhari moves swiftly and tackles this insecurity headlong, it will continue to affect farming. If the prevailing situation continues like this, there may be a food crisis in the country by the end of this year’s farming season,” Boko said.
Some residents who spoke with DAILY POST while lamenting the agonies they are passing through to feed daily appealed to the government to take a look at the high cost of living in the country with a view to bringing down the cost of food items.
“It is very difficult to feed my family and myself these days. Things are just too costly in the markets nowadays. By the time I collect my monthly salary, it hardly takes me one week before it finishes.
“Food is essential and we have to eat every day. The current high cost of living is responsible for the depletion of my salary within one week. Yet, we still have three otter weeks before another salary will come.
“I am passionately begging both Federal Government and the Bauchi State government to help us tackle this urgently. It is only the government’s intervention that can save the situation if they don’t want us to starve,” a civil servant with the Bauchi State government, who simply gave his name as Abubakar, told DAILY POST.
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