Low Patronage Hits Markets As Prices Of Goods Climb

Barely one week to Christmas, traders in Warri, the commercial city of Delta, have decried low patronage, attributing it to increase in the prices of commodities.

A survey by our correspondents in some major markets in Warri on Sunday revealed that prices of food items had increased while the traders complained of low patronage.

Mr John Joshua, a tomato seller in Igbudu Market said the increase in prices of tomatoes had led to very low sales.

”Last year, you could get a basket of tomatoes for between N1,500 and N3,000, depending on the size, but today that same type and quantity is sold for between N4,000 and N6,000.

”Before now, we used to pay N85,000 for a full load of J5 vehicle of tomatoes, but the price is now N110,000.

”Although we hope that the demand will pick up but the patronage is still low compared to the situation in 2015,” he said.

Another tomato dealer, Mrs Efe Samson, decried the low sales and attributed it to the recession in the country.

Samson, a retailer, said she used to sell up to five baskets of tomatoes per day during Christmas season, but now, she hardly sells a basket.

Mrs Clara Emeaso, who sells rice at Jugbale Market in Udu, near Warri, said Mama Africa brand of rice was sold for N23,000.

”Elephant Royal, Elephant Gold and ordinary Elephant rice are sold for N23,500, N22,000 and N21,000 respectively.

“This period last year, a bag of rice sold for between N7,500 and N9,000 depending on brand.

”A small bag of “Oloyin” beans and a big bag of brown beans are sold for N15,000 and N34,000 respectively.

”Patronage has remained very poor because of the high price, but we thank God for everything,” she said.

Malam Yahaya Usman, who sells chickens in Okere Market, said an old layer sold for between N3,500 and N4,500 depending on size.

Usman said that the same sizes sold for between N2,500 and N3,100 during the 2015 Christmas period.

”The problem is that the prices of chicken feeds have increased. Before now, a bag of feeds was sold for N2,700 but it is now sold for N3,900,” he said.

A vegetable oil dealer at Maciaver Market, Mrs Rose Okoro, said four litres of Mammador oil was sold for N2,900 instead of N1,200 previously.

She also said that four litres of palm oil was sold for N4,000 now as against N1,200 in 2015.

”Government should kindly do something that yield results, people are really suffering,” she said.

Mr John Emeka, who owns a boutique in Okere, said he had been experiencing low sales for some months now.

”Customers are not buying wears; they have to think of what to eat first before thinking of buying clothes. The situation is terrible but we will continue to manage it,” he said.

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