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Hunger in the land: tomatoes jumped from N10,000 to N175,000; Muslims to buy, share ram as prices soar

As Eid-el-Kabir approaches, pepper, a common spice in many Nigerian cuisines, has become a scarce commodity in Kwara’s capital city of Ilorin. A market survey conducted on Thursday at the Mandate market in the Ilorin West LGA, where pepper is sold in large quantities, found that the commodity has become expensive in the past few weeks.

The product had become scarce, with little or none in sight, including tomatoes. Some pepper sellers attributed the scarcity to flooding and pest attacks in the North, where pepper is grown in large quantities. Jamilu Isa said they were expecting the vehicles to bring pepper and onions, but they were informed that there were no goods for them to load. He lamented that the flood had washed all away, and those not washed were affected by pests.

A small container of tomatoes formerly sold for N150 now sells for N2,000, a waste bin basket formerly sold for between N1,500 and N2,000 now goes for N15,000, and a big basket of N10,000 now sells for N175,000 and above. Also, a basket of Scotch Bonnets, popularly called ‘rodo’, which used to sell for N1,500, now goes for N12,000. Similarly, a bag of onions now goes for N75,000 as against N50,000 and below that it was sold.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food prices in Nigeria increased 40.53 per cent in April of 2024 over the same month in the previous year, and food inflation reached an all-time high of 40.53 per cent in April of 2024. On a visit to ram dealers, they lamented low sales as buyers complained of the high prices of rams.

Azeez Abdullahi, a ram seller, said the ram that went for N50,000 a few years back was sold for between N170,000 and N200,000 and above this year. He blamed the hike in the price of rams on the high cost of feed and transportation. A prospective customer, Yahaya Usman, said that because of the exorbitant price, some of his friends planned to contribute money to buy and share a cow, which is also acceptable in Islam as an alternative to rams.

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