Owing to the involvement of more farmers in the production of garri, prices of the staple food which had remained stable since January this year dropped further last month.
The staple food made from cassava flakes seemed to be no longer affected by seasonal factors. Unlike before, when production of the commodity was mostly done by farmers from South-West and South-South regions, scarcity and non-availability had always been the outcome particularly during dry season.
However, with the involvement of more hands in the planting of cassava across the nation, the situation appeared to be different and more favourable currently as the problem of inadequate supply arising from scarcity appeared to be under control.
Visits to various markets across the states during the week revealed that prices of garri which declined in January this year and had remained stable since then, fell further by over 5 and 10 percent in some markets as at June 8, 2018 from what was sold earlier.
Majority of the traders interviewed attributed the pleasant situation to increased supply, availability, lack of purchasing power and low demand.
However, checks at the Wuse market, Abuja, indicated that prices of garri were at a downward trend when compared with what was previously sold. For example, a big bag of the white regular garri that previously went for between N12,500 and N13,500 last month fell slightly to between N12,000 and N13,000 depending on the haggling power of the buyer.
Madam Egbuna, who trades in all kinds of grains at the Wuse Market, Abuja, said that low patronage and improved supply was responsible for the drop.
That of Central Market, Kaduna, sold previously for N17,000 reduced further and currently goes for between N15,500 and N16,000.
Again, visits to Ogbeogologo Market, Asaba, indicated that prices of a 100kg bag of the yellow garri that remained stable at N7,500 dropped to N7,000, signifying a 7 per cent reduction.
A lady, who sells the commodity at the Ogbeogologo Market, Asaba, but simply identified herself as Natasha, linked the fall to availability of the commodity and was very optimistic, that prices of garri would crash further in its season of plenty.
The same could be said for that of Ose Market, Onitsha, especially with the current price of a 100kg bag of the yellow variant going for N6,500 down from N7,000 sold initially.
At the Oba Market, Benin City, prices of the commodity appeared to be at a favourable trend as prices of a 100 kg bag decreased further to between N5,500 and N5,800 from N6,000 sold previously.
Mr. Musa Ojeiseimi, who sells the commodity at the Oba Market, Benin City, linked the drop to increased supply and availability.
That of Itam Market, Uyo, still remained stable at between N8,000 and N8,500, of which a higher proportion of traders ascribed to increased supply.
For that of Kings Market, Ado-Ekiti, a bag of the white regular white garri that was earlier sold for N6,000 reduced by over 10 percent to N5,000 within the review week.
Mustapha, who sells the commodity in large scale at the Kings Market, Ado-Ekiti, in a chat with SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, opined that combined efforts by farmers to engage in garri production along with the Federal Government continued support in agriculture was responsible for the drop in prices. He was however, still very hopeful that prices of the commodity would crash further.
Again, Visits to Bodija Market, Ibadan, showed that a 100kg bag of the white regular garri that declined to N5,500 previously from N6,000 sold in April dropped further to N5,000 as at June 7,2018, signifying a 9 percent fall.
A lady named Munirat, who came to shop for food items was in a happier mood as she increased her purchases when she leant that the price of the commodity had reduced the more.
The same applies to Lagos, as visits to popular markets such as Idi-Oro, Mile12, and Iddo during the week indicated that prices of both the regular yellow and white garri were at a plummeting trend.
However, in spite of the further reduction in the prices of the commodity, traders were still seen complaining about low patronage and sales owing to lack of money and the state of the economy.
Nonetheless, visits to these markets revealed that the wholesale price of a 60kg bag of white regular garri which had remained stable at between N5,500 and N5,000 since January 2018, declined to between N4,500 and N4,700, depending on the bargaining power of the customer while that of the yellow regular garri attracted between N5,500 and N5,700 as against N6,000 sold previously.
But for those, who sell at retail prices, a bag of white of garri currently ranges from N5,500 to N6,000, after taking into cognizance cost of logistics.
Mr. Emeka, who trades in the commodity and other kinds of grains, however, linked the fall in the prices of the commodity to availability.
According to him, Lagos traders no longer travelled to other states to purchase the commodity as its farmers have now included cassava in their crops during planting season.
He also said that the situation has seen huge number of traders from other locations transporting the commodity to Lagos for sale at a reduced rate because of low patronage and demand.
Consequently, those who purchased the commodity in smaller measures were not adversely affected as the drop in the prices of garri was quickly noticeable in their bargaining power. For example, a paint bucket measurement of white and yellow garri that had remained stable at N500 and N600 dropped further to N450 and N550 respectively.