Economy Hardship: Cut yams on sale floods Nigerian markets

Nigerians have accepted the reality that even the wealthy cry as a result of the country’s current dire economic conditions.

Many Nigerians’ pockets have been severely dry and nearly completely emptied by the ongoing pressure on pricing for goods and services brought on by the challenging economic climate, leaving little space for savings.

Economy&Lifestyle discovered that the situation has now made it difficult for an average family to afford a big-sized tuber of yam, which now costs above N5,000.

Findings revealed that yam sellers now cut yams in pieces to sell to those who cannot buy a tuber.

Mr Ahmed Danjuma, a yam seller in Iyana-Ipaja, said: “Many people no longer buy yam because of the cost.

“We now cut the yams in pieces and rearrange broken ones to sell at the rate of N500 to N1,000, depending on the size.
“ People buy them a lot more than the tubers.

“It also helps us increase sales because not everyone can afford a medium-sized tuber of yam for N3,000 to N3,500.
“Some food vendors also go for it .

“Apart from the lack of money, some people are afraid of buying a big tuber and at the end of the day discover that almost half of the yam is bad.

“It will be very painful to experience such a waste. That is why many now buy pieces of yam.”

Mrs. Iyabo Majekodunmi, a wholesale yam seller in Iyana-Iba market, said you can hardly get a tuber of yam for N1,000 now because the cost of buying a small tuber of yam from the farm is from N1,200.

“A small tuber of yam from the farm is N1,200. When it gets here it is sold for N1,400 or N1,500 when you add logistics.
“When it gets to the hands of retail traders, they sell by adding N100 or N200.
“As you can see, we are not in the yam season.

“This is the season where yams get spoilt a lot.

“We are also mindful of stocking yams up to avoid loss due to them getting rotten.

“Also my customers are complaining of low sales. This is also affecting us and our stockings.

“The increase in yam price is due to the high cost of logistics and low harvest which is a result of insecurity in the country.

“Before an individual would buy a full truck of yam tubers but now six to ten people go for a truck.”
Mrs. Janet Omoriege, a retail yam seller in Agbara, said: “ The smallest size of yam here is N1,800 which can hardly feed a family of three.

“The medium-sized yam tuber is N3,000 while the biggest tuber is N5,000.

“The prices also differ depending on the type of yam whether it is Abuja, Benue and so on.

“Seeing that people always retreat whenever they hear the price of yam, I decided to cut it into pieces, especially those with broken parts.

“This has improved sales and helped retained my customers.

“They appear satisfied with the technique and at least they can join the group of people eating yam.
“It is not our fault that the price of yam is increasing.”

Mrs. Lydia Eket, a customer patronizing Omoriege said: “The pieces of yams are the best to buy this season.
“I prefer buying it because it’s less expensive and you can know if it is bad or not especially this season when a lot of yams are bad.

“Where is the money to buy a big size tuber of yam for N5,000 for a family of five.
“It is only God that is seeing some families through in this our country of today.

“We are just spending money but not seeing the value of what we are spending.”

In it’s latest Selected Food Price Watch report, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS said that, the average price of 1 kilogram of Yam tuber rose by 141.25 per cent on a year-on-year basis from N443.02 in March 2023 to N1,068.78 in March 2024.

“ On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 5.8 per cent from N1,009.56 in February 2024 to N1,068. in March 2024”, it added.

(Credit: Vanguard)

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