Saturday, April 20, 2024

Easter Blues: Anambra residents lament rising food prices 

Mr Odogwu said Thursday that the high cost of edible products was caused by greed among those who sell them.

• March 28, 2024
Foodstuffs
Foodstuff used to illustrate the story

Some Residents of Anambra have cried out at the rising cost of edible commodities, with just a few hours until the Easter festive period, expressing their displeasure over the artificial hardship being experienced at the moment.

Chibuzo Odogwu described the constant price hike of food items in the market as “the wickedness of man to each other” and wondered why it happened.

Mr Odogwu said Thursday that the high cost of edible products was caused by greed among those who sell them.

Saying that some have developed the mentality of getting rich anyway during festive periods, Mr Odogwu condemned traders’ behavioural patterns in this climate.

He said such traders have become opportunistic during festive periods and called it wickedness against humanity.

“Eatable commodities like tomatoes, peppers, vegetables, fruits, garri, rice, yam, and fish, amongst others, are locally sourced, but they are unreachable in the market.

“The traders will tell you that dollar is high, but do we need dollar to harvest and process the farm produce that is not imported? Some have not seen dollar in their life, yet high cost of their wares are attributed to the dollar exchange rate.

“Now that the dollar is depreciating in favour of the naira, have they reduced their prices for these items? Crayfish, periwinkle, catfish, snail, and local spices are all sourced within, yet the very poor cannot breathe,” he said.

He said these high food prices are seasonal and urged the government to order the food regulatory bodies to launch a manhunt inside the markets against those greedy traders who inflict hardship on fellow citizens.

Ngozi Imegwu said the rising price of food items and beverages in the state markets has become a major source of worry for consumers.

Ms Imegwu appealed to the government to provide a safe environment so that women could go back to their farmlands to cultivate subsistence farming so the children and family members would not die of hunger or engage in illegal activities.

Helen Nwite, a dealer in imported drinks and food items, said the hike affected her business. She said her items come from Lagos through expensive waybills and that for sales to be meaningful to her, all expenses incurred during the transaction needed to be transferred to the consumers.

Ms Nwite said dollar rates determine the buying and selling of their goods and other additions like levies paid to the government to operate.

A visit to the popular Eke Awka Market showed prices of some food items have steadily increased.

For instance, a bag of foreign rice costs N80,000, while a bag of local rice costs N70,000. A painter of garri now costs N2,200 for the white garri, while the yellow garri now sells for N3,000, as against between N1,200 and N1,500, respectively. Also, a five-litre groundnut oil, sold for N7,000, now costs N12,500, while the chicken is N12,000. A crate of eggs now sells for between N2,700 and N4,000, compared to N1,800 and N2,300, respectively.

Pamela Igwe described the situation as hopeless and called on governments at all levels to declare a state of emergency regarding hunger and give succour to people during this Easter celebration.

Ms Igwe said the 800-kilogramme of milo tea, which previously sold for N2,800, now sells for N4,800, and a packet of sugar is now sold for N1,200 against the previous selling point of N600.

A trader, Okwy Okaa, lamented the current price hike of goods, blaming it on the attitude of consumers in buying virtually everything in the market.

A civil servant, Rita Okafor, said the uncontrollable rise in the prices of essential commodities has left many people helpless, especially the poor masses. She appealed to the government to rethink the economic principles that have led to this situation.

(NAN) 

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