The price of gari has recorded more than 50 per cent increase in the Eket area of Akwa Ibom, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Other items that also went up in the area, a NAN survey revealed, were the prices of other foodstuffs, including rice and fish.
The survey showed that a cup of gari, which sold at N30 between February and April, now sells at N70, while the cost of six cups of the commodity has risen from N100 to N200 at various markets in Eket and its environ.
Similarly, the current price of a bag of the staple food item is N14,000 as against N8,500 sold between February and April.
At the Udua Nka Market in the Afaha Nsit area of Eket, the price of a 50 kilogram bag of rice has increased from between N8,000 and N9,000 to N13,000 and N14,000, depending on the brand.
A food vendor in the community, Mrs Bassey Peter, lamented the development, saying “the way things are going now shows that hard times await ordinary citizens.”
Peter said that the traffic of buyers of foodstuffs to her shop had reduced since prices of some of the items increased, adding that business was low.
She said that although some people could still afford gari, very many were beginning to stay away from the consumption of rice.
“It is only the rich people that eat rice now unlike before when everyone was managing to buy the commodity,” she added.
The prices of fish, yam, tomatoes and palm oil had also increased.
Mrs Ekama Asuquo, another dealer in food items at the Udua Nka Market, attributed the increase to the 2012 flood which ravaged many communities in the state.
Asuquo, who said that the high prices also affected yams, tomatoes and palm oil, added that the flood had destroyed many farmlands in the area.
She said that another factor that contributed to the price hike in gari was that the alternative use of cassava for producing flour for baking.
She urged the Federal Government to stop the exportation of cassava to other countries, saying it was affecting local availability of gari.
A rice seller, Mr Bernard Samson, told NAN that the high cost and scarcity of the product would persist unless the state government did something urgently to address food insecurity.