Rise in prices of perishable goods, thanks to rainfall, cause Maiduguri residents to look for alternatives



Residents of Maiduguri, capital of Borno, have raised concerns over the rise in prices of perishable goods in markets across the metropolis.

A market survey by our reporter revealed that a basket of tomatoes which was about N5, 000 months back risen now N8, 000. A bag of onion was N10, 000 but it is now N29, 000.

However, Maiduguri is where most of these perishable goods are grown, particularly much of what is consumed in the metropolis. They are grown along the various water bodies that traverse the city.

The concerns by the residents are on what could have caused the raise in the price since they are being produced within the metropolis.

A good number of them who complained to YERWA EXPRESS NEWS said the rise is making it difficult for them to feed themselves.

The perishable goods mentioned as being costly are tomatoes, onions and pepper. They said the price of the goods have risen to almost two times their previous prices.

This is coming weeks after the residents also complained of the rise in the prices of charcoal and firewood, as reported YERWA EXPRESS NEWS.

‘I like fresh pepper and tomato in my food, because it makes it delicious but with the way the price escalated, I had to cut down on it,’ Chiamaka Emmanuel, who our reporter met at the point of buying them at Baga Road Market said.

The situation has forced many of them to find other alternatives for feeling a similar taste in their food.

‘I hardly buy fresh pepper and tomato now, I prefer to buy dried one as it’s more accessible and cheaper,' says another resident, who our reporter also met at the same market.

‘Things are difficult and there is no money in circulation, everywhere is so tight, that sometimes I find it so difficult to buy perishable ingredients because the cost is so much. And instead I use alternative ingredients,’Malam Isa Ibrahim, also at the market, said.

The dealers of the goods have attributed the rise in the prices of the goods to different factors.

Dealers account for hike in the prices

When contacted by YERWA EXPRESS NEWS, the dealers of tomatoes said the change in the prices is largely due to the rainy season. They said the river banks within the state capital used for cultivating those perishable goods are mostly not accessible, if cultivable, during the rainy season.

According to them, this is mostly the case from August to October every year when rainfall becomes steady, causing water levels at the rivers to rise, sometimes above the river and overflowing to the riversides.

It thus washes everything grown along the banks.

According to them, most of the perishable goods in circulation were brought outside the state, from as far as Benue, and the cost of transportation among others contributed to their rapid rise,

‘The reason for the high price in the product is because of the rainy season. We don’t get the tomatoes nearby, we have to go far away to other states like Benue, Gombe and Taraba to get it,’ Alhaji Dauda Umar, the chairman of tomato sellers in Gamboru Market in Maiduguri, said.

He assured that the goods will soon be available in the state as soon as cultivation resumes around the river banks in December.

‘Tomatoes would be available in Jere towards December and January and the price will be cheaper. Even now the price has reduced a bit compared to last week because we bought some from Gombe,’ he added.

Borno is one of the states in the North East region of Nigeria that is worst-hit by the Boko Haram crisis. One of the sectors worst affected by the crisis in the state is agriculture, as farms were forced to be deserted for several years.

While others attributed the high cost to the rainy season, the dealers of the union added that crisis could be another cause.

Alhaji Dunoma Goni Adam, the chairman of onion sellers in Gamboru Market in Maiduguri who said this, also disclosed that much of the onion consumed in the state capital are brought from at least 13 different local governments of the state. They are also brought in from neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger republics.

However, he said the insecurity had cut out these supply sources.

As things stand, residents have to wait till December before the prices come down.

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