Harvest period in Taraba State usually brings relief to residents as it forces down prices of foodstuff in the market, but this was not the case this year as prices of foodstuff continued to rise despite the fact that some crops were harvested across the state. According to media reports, newly-harvested yam, groundnut and cassava are already in markets across the state, but prices of foodstuff are still going up. It was reported that farmers in Yorro, Zing, Bali and Gassol local government areas have started harvesting yam, groundnut and cassava in large quantities and the produce are already in the market while dealers from neighbouring states are making bulk purchases of newly-harvested crops.
At Monkin, Pantisawa, Maihula, Jalingo and Gwangwan markets, where middlemen usually rushed to purchase newly-harvested crops at low prices in previous years, they were disappointed to meet high prices of the commodities. A yam dealer in Jalingo market, Aliyu Abdu, said apart from the high prices of newly-harvested farm produce, the cost of transporting the items from rural markets to Jalingo town had almost doubled what was paid last year. He said four medium-sized tubers of yam cost between N5,000 and N6,000, but last year, the same quantity cost N3,500 during the harvest period. He said a 100kg bag of groundnut is sold at N33,000, but last year, the same bag costs N18,000, while a measure of groundnut is now sold at the rate of N450, but last year during this period, it was N200.
Residents of Jalingo, who spoke with news men expressed fear that if the rising prices of foodstuff continued unchecked, many families would not feed. One of the residents, Amadu Haruna, said it had been a tradition over the years to see prices of essential commodities come down once harvest started, but it is different this year as prices are rather going up. “The price of roasted corn is very high this time. A small size costs N100 as against the N50 it was sold last year. Prices of boiled cassava and groundnut are also high when compared to previous years”, he said. Findings revealed that prices of maize, locally-processed rice and other foodstuff have gone up in the state. A 100kg bag of maize is now sold at the rate of N40,000 as against N31,000 it costs last week.