Yuletide: Prices of tomatoes, onions, rice soar
Prices of some food items have soared in some major markets in Umuahia, the capital of Abia two days to Christmas.
A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday at Ubani, Isi Gate and Orie Ugba markets showed the prices of tomatoes, onions, rice, ogbono, egusi and others have increased.
At Ubani Market, a 50 kg of tomatoes which sold for between N10,000 and N12,000 a week ago, now sells between N19,000 and N20,000.
A bag of onions now sells for N45,000 as against N41,000 to N43,000 it was sold last week.
A bag of ogbono previously sold for N140,000 now goes for N160,000, while that of egusi which used to sell between 120,000 and N130,000 now sells for N162,000.
Prices of rice has also soared as a bag of foreign rice which sold at about N18,000 two weeks ago, now sells for between N21,000 and N22,000.
The local rice which was previously sold for between N14,000 and N15,000, now goes for between N17,000 and N18,000.
The survey revealed that the prices of the aforementioned items are not different at Orie Ugba, another major market in Umuahia.
At Isigate, a milk-tin of ogbono which previously sold for N500 now sells for N600, while that of egusi, which used to sell for N230 now goes for N300.
Pumpkin vegetable known as “ugwu’’ in local dialect which was previously sold for N50 for the an average bunch now goes for N100.
An onions seller at Isigate market, Mrs Chidinma Ezoh, lamented the increase in price of onions.
“Last week, I bought a bag of onions at N43,000, but today I bought it N45,000.
“The price is increasing everyday. I don’t know what it will be like by Monday but I’m sure it will increase because it will just be a day to Christmas.
“In 2016, a bag of onions which now sells for N45,000 was sold for between N12,000 and N14,000,” she said.
Another trader at Orie Ugba market, Mr Patrick Okafor, who sells food items, pointed that the increase was usual because of the festive period.
“This is Christmas season. Everything has added money. We sell according to how we buy. It is just unfortunate, but there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
A consumer at Ugbani Market, Mrs Elizabeth Kanu called on the Federal Government to put in place price control mechanism that would checkmate the excesses of traders.
“We are being exploited and it is because the Federal Government does not have any price control mechanism.
“I heard that this is harvest time for some items such as tomatoes and onions, yet these traders are still selling them at astronomical prices,” she lamented.