Prices of some foodstuffs have increased in major markets in Osun State ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Our correspondent who visited markets such as Ayegbaju International Market, Alekuwodo market, Anaye Market, and Ojurin on Sunday observed that prices of food items such as rice, tomatoes, onions, peppers have increased significantly.

For example, a 50kg basket of tomatoes which sold for N5,000 two weeks ago, is now selling for between N12,000 and N18,000.

A 50kg bag of foreign rice, which was previously sold for N15,800 is now N18,500 and the locally produced rice now sells for between N15,000 to N17,500 depending on brands in all the markets.

Traders interviewed during the visits, however, expressed diverse views on possible reasons for the price increase.

Adejoke Okunowo, a maize distributor at the popular Alekuwodo market, lamented the high cost of transportation for bringing the produce from the northern parts of the country to Osogbo.

She said, “The festive season has affected the cost of maize, hence many consumers are now complaining bitterly during transactions.

“If the cost of fuel can be reduced, there will not be any reason for the high cost of transportation and this would affect the cost of the maize generally, as it would be a source of relief to the consumers,’’ she said.

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Jacob Olabode, a Rice distributor in Aiyebaju markert, also lamented about the sudden increase in the price of rice which many average family members now find discomforting.

According to Olabode, one module of rice which sold for N500 last month now costs N700 each.

“The price of a bag of rice, which was formerly N15, 000 is presently N19, 000 and it may even go up again before Dec. 25.

“This has affected my business negatively and I cannot wait for the festive period to be over, so that prices will normalise again,’’ he said.

Aina Adebare, a consumer, complained of the high cost of perishable items in the market, such as: pepper, onions, vegetables and fruits, particularly during festive periods.

She, however, urged government at all levels to always give their employees appropriate incentives and bonuses during such periods, to help them to cushion the expected increase in foodstuff prices.

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