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Food prices drop in Kano, Taraba, Kwara, Niger

Food prices have started dropping at major grain markets in Kano, Taraba and Niger states, Daily Trust can report. There had been protests in Lagos,…

Food prices have started dropping at major grain markets in Kano, Taraba and Niger states, Daily Trust can report.

There had been protests in Lagos, Kano and Niger states against the hardship in the land.

The latest demonstration against the high cost of living was staged in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Prominent Nigerians, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero; among others, as we as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had called on the federal government to take measures to address the situation.

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President Bola Tinubu and state governors last Thursday met on measures to bring down prices of food items.

Some factors have been cited as responsible for the drop in prices of food items, among them the decision by multi-billion naira feed companies, the stoppage of inter-state movement with food items in some parts of the country, increased surveillance around borders to stem export and clampdown on some people discovered to be hoarding the grains.

 

Kano 

Reports from Kano State yesterday had it that prices of maize, soya beans, beans and rice had dropped at  Doguwa, Tudun Wada and Bunkure markets and others.

A grain merchant, Hudu Faruk, attributed the price drop to the sealing of warehouses accused of hoarding grains by the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission.

“They have asked us to halt the purchase of commodities and many merchants are apprehensive on the matter hence, they quit buying last week. Perhaps, this is the main reason behind the drop in price,” he said.

A trader at Bunkure Market, Adam Isah Barkum, attributed the drop in food prices to the drop in demand from major buyers.

In some of the markets visited by our correspondent in Kano, it was observed that a 100kg bag of maize which was sold for between N58,000 and N60,000 last week, was sold at between N50,000 and N48,000 yesterday; while the price of beans dropped from N94,000 to N85, 000.

 

 Taraba 

Similarly in Taraba State, prices of maize, millet, sorghum, white beans, soybeans and dried cassava have come down at Mutum Biyu, Garba-Chede, Maihula and Iware markets.

At Maihula town, a farmer, Ali Maihula, yesterday told Daily Trust that the price of 100kg bag of maize had dropped from N54,000 to N40,000; soybeans, from N40,000 to N32,000; sorghum from N50,000 to N41,00; a mudu of locally processed rice, from N2,300 to N1,700; and white beans dropped from N2,100 to N1,600.

A trader, Garba Mutum Biyu, attributed the price drop to the absence of middlemen who used to make bulk purchases at the markets.

 

Kwara 

In Kwara State, a farmer and former chairperson of the Kwara Rural Farmers, Bose Anifowose, told our correspondent that a 50kg bag of maize which she sold above N65,000 in January was sold for N40,000 at Ajase market yesterday.

A former secretary of AFAN, Mukaila Salaudeen, who is also the chairman of Amana Farmers, Ilọrin, said: “At the local market now, the prices of grains like maize and beans, among others are gradually coming down.

“From above N100,000, a bag of beans is now about N90,000 with the price of maize somehow remaining stagnant. We are hoping that in a week or two, it will crash from around N65,000 per bag some farmers said they sold last month.

“Most of those who are hoarding the commodities are having fear that the policy of government may crash grain prices after the release from the grain reserve.”

 

Niger 

In Niger State, especially in Bida, our correspondent yesterday observed a reduction in the price of 50kg bag of maize from N52,000 to N48,000 and guinea corn, from N48,000 to N39,000.

Residents of the state said the reduction in prices was due to the decision of the government to ban bulk buying of grains from markets.

However, prices of fertilizers have skyrocketed at markets in the state ahead of the coming rainy season farming.

A fertilizer dealer in Minna, Danjuma Yarima, said the price of Urea had been increased from N25,000 to N36, 000; and NPK, from N27,000 to N37,500.

 

Prices still high in Benue; fluctuate in Katsina 

In Benue State, food prices were yet to drop as of yesterday.

Our correspondent observed at some markets the price of 100kg bag of millet had jumped to N75,000 from N66,000 it was sold two weeks ago; maize, from N65,000 to N70,000; sesame from N165,000 to N185,000; and a 50kg bag of rice, from N67,000 to N72,000.

However, the price of a 100kg bag of soybean had dropped to N55,000 from N80,000 it was sold two weeks ago.

A local marketer, who identified himself as Dennis, said this was “because farmers are now bringing the harvested soybean to the markets. Before now, they were yet to harvest it.”

In Katsina State, prices of farm produce have started dropping following the withdrawal of animal feed companies from markets.

Murtala Abubakar, a feed company agent, said they have halted off-taking of grains from markets since last Tuesday.

“Olam that has been the major off-taker in Dandume, Funtua, Kafur, Bakori and Giwa grain markets withdrew a week ago and since then, the price of maize crashed to N52,000 from N60,000.”

Abubakar said there were other factors affecting the price of the commodities such as scarcity of the maize in the markets.

“The price is not yet stable because other factors such as the depreciation of the naira that is making foreigners to buy in bulk and scarcity of the produce in the markets have made the price of maize and other produce to fluctuate from one market to another,’’ he said.

Another player in the market, Umar Samaila, said soybeans’ price had reached N60,000 from N52,000 despite the company’s stoppage from off taking it last Friday.

“In Giwa, maize is now N52,000, sorghum N45,000 and soybeans 57,000. In Dandume, maize is N57,000, sorghum N48,000 and soybeans N58,000.

In Bakori, maize is now N58,000, sorghum N48,000 and soybeans N60,000. This is attributed to merchants from far and near that are flooding the markets for the produce,” he said.

In early February, the price of maize reached N60,000; sorghum, N53,000; rice, N110,000, beans N82,000 and paddy rice, N45,0000.

 

Animal feed producers’ factor 

Daily Trust reports that last week’s decision by major animal feed producers to suspend the purchase of maize and sorghum across the country was also believed to have forced down the prices of the grains across the states.

On Friday, Premier Feed Mills Ltd (PFM), a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, a major animal feed producer in the country, announced the immediate suspension of maize offtake over what it called “the current state of food insecurity in Nigeria and its impact on citizens.”

It said: “As significant off-takers and processors of maize and sorghum, we can attest to maize and sorghum prices being artificially high at present, with ripple effects on prices of finished products like poultry and other livestock.

“In the course of our active private-public sector collaborations, we have been in constant consultations with the government to establish viable ways of managing the ongoing food crisis, especially as it pertains to maize and sorghum.

“In view of this, PFM will temporarily suspend its off-taking of maize and sorghum as we monitor the market environment. In the interim, we will continue our commitment to local content development, finding innovative ways of serving our customers with the products they love,” a statement by the company read in part.

Olam Nigeria, a company that supplies food, feed and other goods, has taken a similar action, temporarily stopping the purchase of necessary grains like sorghum and maize immediately.

“As a major buyer and processor of food staples, we share the concerns around the high prices and supply chain disruptions affecting the availability of essential grains.

“In response to these challenges, we are actively collaborating with industry peers and government authorities to identify and implement strategic solutions to alleviate any additional stress on food availability,’’ the company said.

Mathew James, an agriculturist, believes that the decision by the feed companies, the planned clampdown on hoarders of the grains as well as action against foreigners at the border contributed a lot to the drop in food prices.

Sources said there had been intensive checks at the border communities with trailers loaded with grains moving out of the country being impounded.

 

Protest in Ibadan over hunger

Hundreds of protesters in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday took to the streets over the hardship in the land.

 They carried placards and protested peacefully, saying they were fed up with the daily hike in the cost of living.

One of them, Adam Iliyasu, said: “We cannot continue to be silent. I am usually scared of joining protesters, but hunger is scarier. Nothing is cheap anymore, not garri, not bread, not rice. We are fed up. Tinubu should help us. All of them should help us. We voted for APC as if there was no other party. The people of Oyo State don’t deserve this, Nigerians don’t deserve this.”

A woman, Risikatu Bakare, who joined the protest at Bodija market, said: “We have been hungry since yesterday, no food. My four children and I have been helpless.’’

The spokesman of the state police command, Adewale Osifeso, who monitored the protest, said: “We understand that people have the right to this kind of protest, but it’s our duty as well to ensure that the protest is not hijacked by mischievous elements who might want to make criminal proceeds from this kind of situation.”

 

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