By Yakubu Busari, Jos
The Prices of Irish Potatoes and tomatoes went up by 150 percent in the markets in Plateau States shortly before the Ramadan commenced.
A market survey conducted on in Bokkos LGA shows that a bag of Irish Potatoes that used to sale for between N5, 000 and N6, 000now goes for between N16, 000 and N17, 000. Similarly a basket of tomatoes that used to sale for between 1, 500 and N2, 000 some weeks before now goes for between N4, 500 and N5, 000 in the markets.
Mr Samuel Mallo Chairman, Traders and marketers Association, Mai-katako Market Chapter, Bokkos Local Government, blamed the hike on this year’s late arrival of the rain.
He said, ‘The late arrival of rain fall as experienced this year greatly contributed to the hike in prices of Irish Potatoes and tomatoes in both Bokkos and Mangu Local Governments at this material time;
“All the potatoes you see being sold in Mai-katako market today are irrigated ones and not the seasonal ones, which brought the hike in its price, “ he explained.
According to Mallo, under normal circumstances, it was expected that around this time, the seasonal varieties should be in the markets and at a cheaper rate.
Mallam Nuhu Usman, a potatoes dealer from Kano State, lamented the hike in the price of the commodity, which said has affected his purchasing power. “I used to buy between 150 and 200 bags at times like this, but I am sure whether I can effort 35 bags of Irish Potatoes today,” Usman lamented.
Usman said that he fear is how his customers in Kano would bear with him over the price hike more so that Ramadan was just around the corner.
Another dealer from Katsina, Mr Akilu Sani, who said he could only buy 15 bags of Potatoes out of the 30 bags he used to buy whenever he comes to Mai-katako or Bokkos markets days.
Sani quickly added that did not blame the farmers for the hike, but the late arrival of the rain this year, which he said contributed to the total absence of the seasonal farming produce
However, Bokkos and Mangu Local Governments are the places where Irish Potatoes is being produces in very large quantity that attracts people from every part of the country as well as Chad,Niger and Benin Republic.
“In fact, last year our council purchased 40 trucks load of fertilizers and sold it to us at subsidized rates but today the story is different,” he said.