Prices of tomatoes, pepper drop in Kwara markets as foodstuff sellers, cattle deals call off strike

By Mike Adeyemi
Residents of Kwara State heaved sighs of relief as northern foodstuff sellers and cattle dealers on Wednesday, resumed supplies of food items to southern states.
The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) had embarked on the strike in protest against alleged killing of its members, and hence placing a demand of N475 billion compensation for the lives and properties allegedly lost during the #EndSARS protest and the recent Shasha market crisis.
Expectedly, prices of foodstuff, vegetables and beef skyrocketed in Kwara and parts of southern Nigeria.
When our reporter visited the popular Mandate market, Thursday, meat sellers who were largely absent since last weekend, were seen in their numbers at the market.
Beef sellers who spoke to this medium said they have been out of business owing to the unavailability of cattle at abattoirs due to high prices.
A big basket of tomatoes, which sold between N5,000 to N6,000 before the food blockade, sold for as high as N35,000 on Wednesday.
Also, a bag of pepper was sold at an average price of N17,000, from a relatively lower price of between N8,000 and N10,000 last week.
It was also observed that onions, which usually sells for between N11,000 and N12,000 per bag, during the scarcity went up to between N20,000 and N25,000 per bag.
Speaking on the development, the Iyaloja of tomatoes and peeper sellers, Mandate market, Mariam Omotosho expresses joy over the end to foodstuff blockage from the Noryh.
According to her the strike embarked upon by the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria paralyzed commercial activities at the market.
“We thank God there is surplus of the commodity now since Wednesday. The period the blockage lasted was hard for us all.
“A basket of tomatoes is now between N4,000 and N5,000. A bag of pepper is now sold for N7,000. During the scarcity, a basket of tomatoes went for N17,000 while a bag of pepper cost N20,000. But it has all reduced now, Omotosho affirmed.
“We thank God that the government intervened on the issue as business activities has returned back at the market fully,” she enthused.
However, the price of beans remained relatively the same at N23,000 for small bag and N46,000 for the big bag, though in some markets, the big bag is sold for N55,000.
The story is the same in other markets across the state.
At Yoruba road market, a meat seller, Rukayat Alawo told National Pilot that meat had become scarce commodity. Beef leg, which was formerly sold for N7,000, now goes for N20,000.
“It’s a problem selling beef because people are not buying meat because of the high price, which shoot up since the Hausas stopped supplying us with cattles. We heard that the Shasa crisis between Hausa and Yoruba led to the hike and scarcity.”
At Obbo road, Tajudeen Olatunji said meat sellers were selling at a loss because of the high price of meat.
“If demands were higher, people would be ready to pay, but the scarcity is an artificial creation, hence we are selling at a loss, with low patronage.
“The quantity of meat that we bought last week for N60,000 is N100,000 this week. Government should please intervene on this issue. The loss we suffer is too much, “he appealed.

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