WARRI – Few days to Christmas, the price of rice, vegetable oil and spices have remained stable in Warri, Delta, a survey conducted by newsmen has shown.
The survey showed that though the price of these food items was stable in major markets in the commercial city, that of onions, tomatoes and pepper witnessed marginal increase.
In Ogbe-Ijoh Market, a 50kg bag of rice cost between N8,000 and N10, 000, depending on the brand.
A rice dealer, Mrs Joy Harrison, said a 50kg bag of Mama Gold rice was still sold for N10, 200 while the same quantity of Royal Umbrella rice remained N10, 000.
Harrison added that a 50kg bag of Ade rice cost N8,000 while Mama Africa and Stallion brands sold for N8,700 per 50kg bag.
The dealer, however, decried low patronage.
‘’Customers are not coming, people are not buying as if we are not in a festive season; this is because there is no money in circulation,’’ she said.
In Dugbaleh Market in Udu, the prices of various brands of rice were the same, but transaction was low.
Mrs Augusta Osayande, a dealer in vegetable oil in the market, said four litres of Favour vegetable oil sold for N1, 000 while the same quantity of Ginos sold for N1, 500.
Osayande told newsmen that the same quantity of Kings, Turkey and UAC Power brands of vegetable oil was also sold for N1,500.
She told the survey that the price of these food items did not change despite the fact that Christmas was around the corner.
Mr Dafe Ideh, the Chairman, Onion Sellers Association in Igbudu Market, told newsmen that there was slight increase in the price of the commodity.He said that a bag of onions cost between N33,000 and N35,000, as against the previous price of N30,000.
He said that the cost of transporting a bag of onion from the northern part of the country to Warri had risen from N1,400 to N2,200.
Ideh attributed the increase to the security challenges in the North-East which, he said, had affected the production of onions.
‘’Most of the people cultivating onions in the north have been displaced while some even lost their lives to the Boko Haram insurgency,’’ he said.
A tomato seller in the market, Mr Tanko Zakari, said the price of a basket of tomatoes ranged between N4,500 to N7,000, depending on the size.
Zakari told newsmen that the cost of a basket of the commodity cost between N3,000 and N4,000.
He said a bag of pepper cost between N6,000 and N8,000 as against N5,000 and N6,000 in 2013, depending on type.
He also attributed the increase in the price of tomato to the insecurity in the North-East and cost of transportation.
‘’A lot of farmers are afraid to cultivate tomatoes because of the insecurity and the outcome of the 2015 elections.
‘’I tell you tomatoes will be expensive next year because there is less cultivation this year.
‘’My customers also complained that there is no money in circulation and that has led to the low patronage we are experiencing,’’ he said.
Zakari urged government to find a lasting solution to the lingering security challenges in the country.
Mrs Margaret Maxwell, a tomato retailer, said sales were low as some of her customers complained of delay in payment of December salary.