Residents of Kaduna are lamenting the rising prices of grains, especially maize, beans and millet in markets which they blame on hoarding by middlemen mopping up farm produce.
In a survey at the Tudun Saibu weekly market, a major grains market in Soba Local Government Area of the state, Arewa Trust Weekly gathered that the prices of grains and other food items have gone beyond the reach of low-income earners since the beginning of 2021.
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Alhaji Usman Danasabe, Sarkin Kasuwa of Tudun Saibu, said a 100kg bag of maize, which was sold at N14,000, as at December 31, 2020, is presently sold at N17,000 while a 100kg bag of millet, which sold at N18,000, has now increased to N20,000.
Danasabe added that a 100kg bag of soya beans, which sold at N18,000, is now N22,000 while beans (cowpea) which is now sold at N30,000 was sold at N23,500 in December.
He said many merchants are hoarding the commodities, adding that merchants from Niger Republic, Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna among others, storm the market every week.
Residents told our correspondent that the prices of grains were becoming unaffordable, adding that it was time stepped in government to control grains prices.
Adamu Ibrahim, a security agent in Kaduna, said he could no longer afford beans with a measure sold at N500 recently.
He said most grains sellers attribute the rise in prices to the activities of middlemen and the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the abrupt seizure of rainfall, which negatively affected food production in the area.
Danasabe urged government to support dry season farmers with tools and inputs to reduce the high cost of grains and enhance food security.
In a separate interview with Arewa Trust Weekly, Alhaji Garba Alhassan, said the price of vegetables has, however, dropped in the market.
He said a big basket of tomato is sold at N2,000, while a 50kg bag of pepper goes for N4,000 and 100kg bag of onion N15,000.