FCCPC engages market leaders on rising food prices

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By Yusuf Yunus

Lagos, May 29, 2024 (NAN)The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Wednesday engaged market leaders and traders in Lagos to investigate the persistent increase in food prices across markets.

Mrs Suzie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office of FCCPC, revealed the reasons for meeting with market leaders of Mile 12 Market and Oke-Odo Market, Ile-Epo in Lagos, while briefing newsmen.

Onwuka explained that the engagement aimed to gather insights directly from stakeholders to understand the factors contributing to escalating food prices, a major concern by consumers nationwide.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commission’s investigative mission prioritises consumer protection and competition issues, particularly regarding the affordability of food commodities.

She highlighted insecurity, particularly its impact on agricultural produce, and the removal of fuel subsidies as a major factor influencing the rising cost of transportation which subsequently added to food prices.

According to her, the practice of hoarding grains during dry seasons and releasing them during rainy seasons for planting purposes exacerbates price fluctuation and sustains high prices.

She stressed the importance of stakeholders’ collaboration in addressing the challenges and stabilising food prices for consumers.

Alhaji Shehu Usman, Chairman of the Mile 12 International Perishable Market Association, affirmed the market leaders’ commitment to collaborating with the Lagos State Government in agricultural ventures to enhance food security.

Usman highlighted efforts to secure land for farming activities, including tomato cultivation, to complement existing produce.

Addressing the inflationary trend, Usman clarified that there was no deliberate price manipulation within the market.

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He attributed the spike in food prices to disruptions in agricultural activities caused by insecurity.

This, he added, led to the movement of some Northern farmers from their base to Internally Displayed Camps (IDPs), due to security threats posed by bandits.

Alhaji Taofik Olorunkemi, the Baba-Oja of Oke-Odo Market in Ile-Epo corroborated Usman’s views regarding the hike in prices of food items

He emphasised the challenges posed by the high cost of transporting goods from farms to urban centres and the continuous increase in food prices with each new produce entering the market.

Olorunkemi also highlighted the influence of the removal of oil subsidies on food prices and expressed concerns about the reluctance of the youth to pursue farming opportunities due to modernisation.

The market leader commended the federal government for the provision of adequate security measures to safeguard farmers and agricultural operations.

He emphasised the need for a secure environment to enable effective cultivation.

Meanwhile, some market traders who spoke to newsmen, said they feel the pains of Nigerians but more painful that they would have to sell based on the cost price.

They urged the federal government not to relent on its various intervention programmes, aimed at reducing the pains of Nigerians. (NAN)

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa


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