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Ramadan: Prices of foodstuff skyrocket in Kano

Barely one week before the commencement of Ramadan fast by Muslim faithful all over the world, market survey conducted in some major markets across Kano…

Barely one week before the commencement of Ramadan fast by Muslim faithful all over the world, market survey conducted in some major markets across Kano metropolis has indicated that prices of foodstuffs and other commodities needed during the fasting period have jumped up.

The survey revealed that prices of commodities such as rice, beans, yam, potatoes, sugar and vegetable oil among others have skyrocketed when compared to their prices three weeks ago.

Kano Chronicle observed that it has become a recurring phenomenon that every year, prices of commodities that are in high demand during fasting are rising despite continuous admonitions by Islamic scholars on the traders to make things easier for people during the period in order to gain the blessings of the Holy month.

Further observation indicated that two factors are responsible for the increase of prices during the month of Ramadan. The first is the high demand of the commodities which usually leads to their scarcity and thus the price increases. The second factor is the fact that some of the commodities espeicially the farm produce are not in their harvest season, therefore the only available ones are hoarded for the purpose of profit maximization.

Some of the traders, who spoke to Kano Chronicle , said they have started witnessing increase in prices of some commodities few weeks to the commencement of Ramadan fasting.

Shehu Bawo Aliyu, an Irish potatoes seller said, “In the past few weeks a sack of potatoes was sold between N15,000 to N16,000, but now we sell it at N23,000 to N25,000.

“The fact of the matter is that people are taking undue advantage of this fasting period because of the high demand of the commodity. A basket of potatoes was sold between N800 and N1,000 but now it is N1,500 and it may likely continue to go up. People are blaming us for increasing prices, but it is not our fault. The issue is that the price depends on how we get it from our suppliers. When the price comes down we sell at cheaper rate but when it goes up, we can’t do otherwise.”

Idris Shuaibu, Secretary of the Kano State Irish Potatoes Suppliers Welfare Development Association said the reason why price of Irish potato is increasing was that they only sourced it from Jos, Plateau state, noting that “What we have on ground is what is cultivated through irrigation farming and it is only cultivated around Jos.

“If it is raining season we get it from places like Bakori in Katsina State, Zaria and some other areas around the north. But now we only source it from Plateau state. A bag of potato can go up to N30,000 before Ramadan, but it is still cheaper compared to last year when it was sold for almost N40,000.”

Malam Muazu Abdussalam, said “if government can come in and assist farmers, they can cultivate it here in Kano state. Our major problem is that we lack support from government in the areas of cultivation, storage and marketing of the produce. In Plateau state, government is supporting them and that is why we have to go there and buy from them.”

Malam Halilu Maidoya said, “Yam is a seasonal produce and as you know, this is dry season, it is not its harvesting season. So the price is actually going up as it is becoming a bit scarce in the market.

“A tuber of yam that was sold at N500 three weeks ago is now N600. The one sold at N800 is now N1,000 and it is still rising because it is also hoarded and only those who have enough capital can store it for this period for the purpose of making profit,” he added.

Malam Halilu said compared to last year, there are enough yams in store this year, so the price may not be as costly as that of last year coupled with the fact that there is no enough money in the hands of the buyers.

However, on the part of grains the story is a bit positive, a s according to Malam Usman Garba Abdulwahab, the deputy chairman grains sellers association, Yankaba market, “the grains that are in high demand during Ramada are millet, beans, wheat and rice and the good news is that prices have come down in the past two weeks. A bowl of millet was N400 last two weeks and it is sold at N350 now,” he said.

“As for rice, we have supplies from Adamawa and Gombe states, so the price has also gone down. We would hopefully enter the month of Ramadan with stabilized price of grains.” he said.

Abdulwahab said compared to last year, the prices of grains had substantially reduced, saying a bag of millet was sold at N19,000 last year but now it ranges from N14,000 to N14,500.

As for fruits which are highly consumed in Ramadan,  Malam Zubairu Ahmad said oranges were a bit more expensive this year compared to last year.  He said its bag was sold at N4, 000 last year but it is N7, 500 to N8, 000 now.

“The price has almost doubled,  we don’t know whether it will still rise up  or come down because the rate of supply has gone down,” he added.

Alhaji Musa, a watermelon dealer, also said, “The price of the commodity has gone up in anticipation of the month of Ramada. A  100 pieces of watermelon, was sold at N10, 000, but it has gone up to a range of N13,000 to N16,000 in recent days. The price was cheaper last year compared to this year and the quantity of supply has considerably gone down.”

The story is the same with other consumables such as eggs, sugar, oil, dates and so on. According to a dates hawker, Malam Yahuza Kowa-naka, a bag of dates was sold at N30,000 last year but it has come down to N27,000 this year.

Kano Chronicle  also observed that a crate of egg was N750 to N800 three weeks ago, now it has gone to N900, and the price may likely go up because it is becoming a bit scarce now in the market.

According to Alhaji Bashir Wada of Sabuwar Singer General Enterprise, price of sugar and other commodities remains stable for the past three months and from all indications it would not go up as in the case with previous years.

He commended federal government’s initiative of boosting local production which he said was one of the factors responsible for the stability in price.

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