Few months ago, the price of onions made headlines as the commodity hit an all-time high record due to scarcity, occasioned by a number of factors.
But currently, it is coming down as a result of new harvests.
Farmers and marketers have attributed the reduction in prices of onions to the availability of the product due to the bumper harvest recorded in many states.
Our correspondent who went to Kwalkwalawa, a community known for onion farming, saw many people harvesting their crops, just as some were preparing their farms for another planting season.
One of the farmers, Buhari Malamawa, told Daily Trust that they used to sell a bag of onions between N60,000 and N90,000 before the new harvest.
“In the last three months, onion was like gold; the demand for it was high.
“It was very scarce at the time because of the flood disaster experienced in many states.
At that time, a bag of fresh onions was sold between N60,000 and N70,000 and the old ones were between N80,000 and N90,000, but the prices are relatively down now because fresh ones have hit our local markets,’’ he said.
Malam Kasimu Na Malam Abdul, a marketer at the popular market for perishable items, called Kasuwan Dajin, said the fluctuation of the prices was destined by God.
“The prices were up in the last few months because of the flood disaster that occurred in many states.
“And you know that natural disaster is beyond man’s control. Now it is down because God made it so by blessing our Fadama farmers with bumper harvest.
It is not our making or something we wanted, so people should stop blaming us. There was nothing we could do about it at the time,’’ he said.
According to him, before now, a small basket of onions was sold between N6,000 and N7,000, but now, it is between N3,000, N3,500.
Umar Usman Dandare, the secretary of Marhaba Onion Farmers and Processors Association suggested that stablising the production of onions could go a long way in controlling its prices.
“The government should ensure stability in onion production by supporting an all-round season,” he said.
According to him, onion farmers are not getting support from the government.
He, therefore, called for their involvement in the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank.
He said they were working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the price of a bag of onions is not beyond N30,000 in Sokoto and environs, even when there is scarcity of the produce.
In Kebbi State, Bala Aliero, who is an onion farmer in Aliero, told our correspondent that since the harvest of the produce began in December, its prices started crashing.
He added that the crash in the prices of the commodity was normal as it is the case with any other farm produce when new harvest comes into market.
He further argued that the prices of the commodity would continue to come down, probably till the end of its season, as many farmers had invested in the crop and it is free from the diseases that usually hamper optimum harvest.
Also, Mallam Muhammadu, an onion dealer in Kebbi State, told Daily Trust that the crash in the prices of the commodity was not unusual at the peak of every harvesting season when supply increases.
Muhammadu further explained that when supply starts to decrease, prices of the commodity would equally go up.
He, however, said the prices of the produce rose unusually high this year.
A survey of markets across the states, including Port Harcout, the Rivers State capital, showed that prices of the commodity would further go down in the coming days.
The prices of onions skyrocketed in the state on the heels of the violent EndSARS protest, which led to a wanton destruction of government properties and truck loads of onions going to Port Harcourt from the North.
The destruction of over 50 truckloads of onions forced dealers to boycott further supply of the commodity to South-South states.
At the initial stage of the scarcity of the commodity in the state, a custard bucket was sold between N6,000 and N8,000 while a half bucket was sold at N4,000.
A large size of onion was sold at N200 while a medium size cost N100.
But a market survey carried out by our correspondent on Thursday showed that a bucket of onions now cost between N3,000 and N2,500.
A large size of onions now costs N100 while the medium size now goes for N50.
A dealer who simply gave his name as Musa said the cost of onions came down because more supplies had been delivered to the state.
“When onions were scarce, the prices were very high, but now that we are getting supplies from the North, it has come down,’’ he said.
An onions seller at Eke Oyigbo market, Blessing Okechukwu, expressed happiness that the prices of the commodity had come down greatly.
According to her, a bag of onions she bought at N30,000 during scarcity now costs N18,000.
However, our correspondent in Lagos State said the prices of the commodity were still relatively high.
During an interaction with Faruq, who sells onions beside Red Street in Jakande Estate, Isolo, he said the prices of the commodity were still high, noting that as at December, it was sold as high as N70,000 at the Mile 12 market.
Our findings, however, showed that the price of the commodity per bag has reduced to N56,000.
Faruq, who has been selling onions, pepper and other perishables for some years, however, said the prices of onions would be relatively cheap in 2021 as farmers had started harvesting.
“Onions were costly because it has a planting season. When the ones planted is not ready for the market, it cannot be sold.
“Farmers only sell what they have in stock; that was why it was expensive.
“Once they harvest anytime soon, there will be plenty onions in the market and it will become cheap again,” he said.
In Plateau State, the prices of onions have drastically reduced. T
woman leader at Tomatoes Market at the Cele-Bridge area in Jos, the Plateau State capital, Ruth Izang, confirmed the reduction in prices to our correspondent.
She said a bag, which was sold between N75,000 and N85,000 now dropped to N17,000 and N18,000. According to her, a small basket of onions, which was sold at N3, 000 during its price hike, currently goes for N1,200.
In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the prices of onions have also come down.
A small basket that hitherto cost N5,000 is now between N2,500 and N2,000 at the Utako and Dutse markets.
Sellers like Jabrin Abduallahi believes the prices would further come down as more harvests and supplies come from Sokoto and Kebbi states.
He, however, said the cost of transport was another factor that may determine the prices of the commodity in certain locations across the country.