The current fuel scarcity has triggered hike in the prices of food items in Owerri as traders attributed the rise to the high cost of transportation.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday at the popular Relief market in Owerri showed that the price increase started as the fuel scarcity became harder few days ago.
NAN also gathered that as Christmas was fast approaching, the race to stock up food items reached its peak as suppliers struggled to meet demands.
At Relief Market in Owerri, a basket of tomatoes which previously sold for N6,000 five days ago now goes for N10,000 while a bag of red pepper now cost N8,000, compared to its previous price of N5,500 per basket.
Similarly, a bag of pepper also increased from N10, 000 to N16, 000 while bag of onions, which was previously sold between N17,000 and N21,000 now goes from N28,000 to N35,000, depending on the size.
Some of the food items suppliers from the North, who spoke to NAN, attributed the price increase to the fuel scarcity which also affected the cost of transporting the produce from the hinterland.
Walshak Dadu, a tomatoes and onions supplier from Jos, said prices increased because suppliers had to factor in the cost and stress of getting fuel from filling stations.
NAN reports that food items such as yams, beans, pepper, onion, tomatoes and others have also become more expensive.
“A big tuber of yam which previously sold at N500 increased to N700 while smaller tubers which were sold between N200 and N300 increased to N400.
“A 50 kilogram (kg) bag of rice, which was sold at N19,000, slightly increased to N22,000, while a 25kg bag went from N9500 to N11,000.
Average size live chicken which was N2,500 increased to N3,500, while turkey went from 10,000 to as much as N14,000 due to transportation costs.