The price of beans has tripled in Lagos and its environs; now going for as high as N37, 000, as against the N13,000 it sold for per bag six months ago.
The price hike was attributed to scarcity of the commodity as new beans had not arrived in the markets as it should around this time of the year.
The non-arrival of newly harvested beans has been attributed to flooding that ravaged parts of the northern states where beans are grown; as well as the security challenges in the country.
At the Mile 12 Market, a standard measure (mudu) of beans now sells for N1,200, as against N250 previously; representing more than a 300 per cent hike.
Magaji Haruna, the Secretary of the Beans Sellers Association of Nigeria, Mile 12 Market branch, said: “Our farmers, from whom we get the beans, are complaining that their farm produce have been destroyed by flood. We are selling according to how we buy. I can tell you that up till now, new beans are still very scarce and we are still selling beans harvested last year.”
Funke Ajayi, a beans buyer, complained that the hike in the price has forced her family to reduce consumption. “Now, instead of rice and beans, I better go for rice and plantain,’’ she said.
Mama Suara, a food vendor at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, lamented that it was becoming impossible to get beans in the markets. “I have to sell according to what I buy,” she said. “A spoonful of beans now sells for N50 as against N20 previously. My customers, who are complaining that what I am selling to them is too small, are now going for rice and plantain. You can imagine, before I could get two measures of beans for N2,500 last week, I had to beg, beg and beg.”
Reacting to the development, Umar Sokoto, the Sarki (Head) of Alaba Rago Market in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, attributed the high cost of beans in the market to the crises in Maiduguri and its environs; and advised the federal government to urgently address the situation as its ripple effects may worsen.
“The farmers are afraid of going to their farms; they are looking for hiding places everywhere because of bombings here and there,” he said. “If the situation is not checked, other grains may also become expensive. The price will go up again if the crises continue; so let peace reign so that the farmers can go back to the farms and produce more beans.”