The price of fish in Oyo State, a staple in the diets of many, has surged dramatically over recently, leaving both vendors and consumers grappling with the economic impact of this sudden and unprecedented price hike. In the bustling marketplace of Ojoo, a popular market place in Ibadan, the heart of a group of disgruntled fish sellers has been making headlines for their persistent protest against the significant increase in the cost price of fish in the state. Their recent demonstrations which have been ongoing since late October, with no signs of abating, has gotten the attention of some media houses in Ibadan especially.
In a trending video, one of the traders said in Yoruba, that the purchasing power of consumers in the city continues to dwindle while hike of cost price from the cold room increases per day or at times twice in a day. Ẹgbẹ ẹlẹja, awa o ṣiṣẹ iya mọ – meaning “We are not doing suffering work any more”, the women chanted in Yoruba during their protest. A market woman, who spoke in Yoruba said: “A carton of Titus fish (Eja Alaran) before was N30,000 and we were okay with it, but now, the price is N80,000, the carton of Herring fish (Shawa) was N8,000, we endure it for N20,000, now it is N35,000. European hake fish (Panla) is now N26,000, carton of Horse Mackerel (Kote) is N40,000, and it wasn’t like this last week. It is too expensive”.
Meanwhile, FarmingFarmersFarms learnt from another fishmonger that a carton of European hake fish (panla) was sold N29,500 to her, as of 29th October 2023. She continued: “The association is not doing anything about this, our leadership are quiet and not effective … we don’t have husbands, we are the only ones taking up our responsibilities. The cold room said the high cost is not their fault. Some other fishmongers, who had taken their protest to a popular radio station in Ibadan noted that the suppliers at the cold room centres attributed two factors – increased exchange rate and diesel fuel hike to the sudden price hike of fish. As inflation rises and the cost of living soars, the fish sellers’ cries for justice echo in the market, drawing attention to the broader issue of affordability in these trying times. The local fishmongers, who were once the backbone of their respective families, have seen their profit margins shrink to almost nothing, according to their lamentations in the video. This dramatic increase in the cost price of fish has had a cascading effect on the entire supply chain, from the vendors not willing to buy at a huge price and the consumers are being forced to cut back on an essential source of protein.