Lagos - The price of beans has hit the roof top in Lagos and its environs, almost tripling from N13,000 per bag six months ago, to N37,000.
A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in some Lagos markets on Friday indicated that one bag of beans now sells for between N30,000 and N37,000-- depending on the varieties.
The price hike was attributed to scarcity of the commodity as new beans had not arrived in the markets as it should be around this time of the year.
The non-arrival of newly harvested beans has been attributed to flooding that ravaged parts of the northern states -- where beans are grown, as well as the security challenges in the country.
According to the survey, a standard measure (mudu) of the beans at the Mile 12 Market now sells for N1,200 as against N250 previously, representing more than a 300 per cent hike.
Mr Magaji Haruna, the Secretary of the Beans Sellers Association of Nigeria, Mile 12 Market branch, attributed the scarcity to recent heavy rainfall in some parts of the country.
He told NAN that many beans farms were washed away by flooding, especially in Adamawa, Katsina and Sokoto states.
``Our farmers, from whom we get the beans, are complaining that their farm produce have been destroyed by flood.
``We are selling according to how we buy. I can tell you that up till now, new beans are still very scarce and we are still selling beans harvested last year,’’ he told NAN.
Mrs Funke Ajayi, a beans buyer, complained that the hike in the price has forced her family to reduce consumption.
``Now, instead of rice and beans, I better go for rice and plantain,’’ the mother of four told NAN.
Mama Suara, a food vendor at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, lamented that it was becoming impossible to get beans in the markets.
``I have to sell according to what I buy. A cooking spoonful of beans now sells for N50 as against N20 previously.
``My customers, who are complaining that what I am selling to them is too small, are now going for rice and plantain.
``You can imagine, before I could get two measures of beans for N2,500 last week, I had to beg, beg and beg. A standard mudu (measure) of bean was formerly sold for between N230 and N260,’’ she said.
Alhaji Umar Sokoto, the Sarki (Head) of Alaba Rago Market in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, attributed the high cost of beans in the market to the crises in Maiduguri and its environs.
He told NAN that it was high time government put a stop to the current security situation in the northern part of the country.
``The farmers are afraid of going to their farms; they are looking for hiding places everywhere because of bombings here and there.
``If the situation is not checked, other grains may also become expensive,’’ he said.
He said that a small bag of beans, which was sold for N7,500 some months ago, now sells for N17,500 and the big bag, which sold for N19,200 before, now goes for N35,000.
``The price will go up again if the crises continue; so let peace reign so that the farmers can go back to the farms and produce more beans,’’ he said.