Traders in Port Harcourt have bared their mind about the gradual increase in prices of goods in the market.
Some of the traders who spoke to our correspondent at the popular fruit garden market, Dline in Port Harcourt, expressed their concern about this occurrence, and the effects on patronage.
One of the market women, Mrs Adannia who deals on stockfish said in an interview that the price of stockfish is increasing. According her, a bag of stockfish last month could be gotten for #54,000 but is now worth #56,000. However she said her patronage is still stable, despite the slight increase.
Another market woman, Mrs Uchechi who deals on tomatoes, pepper, onions, said the price of her goods are also going up. For a basket of Tomatoes, she said one could previously buy it for between #6000-#7000, but now goes for #9000-10000. For a basket of pepper, it previously was sold for #7000-#8000 but now goes for #13000, while onions previously sold for #4000-#5000 is now sold for #7,000.
While stating that the reason for the increase in price could be linked to the scarcity of the products in the north due to the onset of the raining season, she also blamed the fuel scarcity issue which affected transport cost as another reason.
She bitterly decried a decrease in patronage, and said government should endeavor to pay civil servants so as to change the fortunes of her market.
For Ijeoma, a Foodstuffs (Rice, beans) dealer, the story was not different. She also admitted that a bag of rice now sells for #19000, a slight increase from the previous #18000. Although her patronage is not affected, because her customers trust her when she tells them about an increment in price of goods.
Meanwhile Mallam Yau SuleYau a dealer in vegetables (Carrot, cabbage, green peas, green pepper), said the price of his goods fluctuate based on planting and harvesting season.
For a kilo of green pepper, which he was previously buying for #400-#500, he said he now buys at #700-#800.
He also said that although patronage is low based on lack of funds, he still manages to sell his goods gradually.