The increase in the prices of food stuffs and ram may force Muslim faithful in Ogun State to celebrate a “dry” Eid-el-Kabir festival.
When Uhuru Times visited some major markets in Abeokuta, the State capital on Thursday, hundreds of residents of the town were seen engaging in a frenzy shopping.
Some of the markets visited included: Kuto, Lafenwa, Olomore, Omida and Iberekodo.
Those who spoke with Uhuru Times, lamented the alarming increase in the prices of food stuffs and ram, attributing it to the economic hardships caused by the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Investigations by Uhuru Times revealed that a 50kg bag of foreign rice which was previously sold for N25,000 now sells for N28,000, local rice went for N21,000 while a small basket of pepper was sold for N1,500.
A trader in Kuto market, Mrs. Sidikat Balogun lamented that the development had adversely affected their businesses.
Balogun said, “As usual, we were expecting that some of us will make huge profits at this period of Eid-el-Kabir celebration, but so far, we have been recording low patronage.
“The reason for this is the economic hardships caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus. Many of our customers are lamenting that there is no money and this is forcing them to buy only few things that they consider necessary.
“I must confess to you, these are trying times and things are very hard, nobody can afford to engage in extravagant spending. Everybody are being very cautious because they don’t know what will happen next in the country”, Balogun said.
At the Olomore ram market, ram sold for between N45,000 to N120,000, depending on the size and the bargaining skill of the buyer.
Uhuru Times gathered that, there was a price increment of between N10,000 to N15,000 on ram this year compared to last year.
The Chairman of the association of ram sellers in Olomore ram market, Alhaji Sufian Onifade disclosed that, this year, the market recorded a shortfall in the supply of rams from States like Kano, Kaduna, Kastina, Borno and Sokoto, among others.
He attributed this shortage of capital by the ram sellers, adding that his members were skeptical about the profitability of the business.
Onifade said, “Our members didn’t invest huge amount of money in ram business this year. They are worried about the profitability of the business, many of them didn’t want to the risk because of the economic realities.
“We are only being careful not to record huge loss because the number of customers that have be coming to patronise us is terribly low compared to last year.”
A ram seller, Mrs. Atinuke Sobowale also lamented the low patronage of rams, saying “the ram that sold for N45,000 last year now sells for N65,000 while the one that sold for N35,000 last year is now N50,000.”
Sobowale said, she invested between N2.5million to N3million on ram business during the Eid-el-Kabir period last year but this year she had only invested between N1.5million to N2million, disclosing that she makes between N1,000 to N6,000 on each ram sold.