Crayfish, Garri Prices Soar As Hardship Bites Harder In Akwa Ibom

Date: 27-05-2024 9:02 pm (3 weeks ago) | Author: onuigbo felicia
- at 27-05-2024 09:02 PM (3 weeks ago)

The price of crayfish, a condiment used for soup making, has ballooned by over 100 per cent in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, as hardship bites harder.

Like other seafood, crayfish is rich in nutritional value and is a good source of low-fat protein, essential vitamins and minerals including phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.

Our correspondent survey of markets and shops in the fourth week of May shows that crayfish which sold for N4,500 for five-litre containers in the third week of April, now sells for N10,000 for the same quantity, recording an increase of 122 per cent in the month.

Besides crayfish, the price of garri, a major staple food, has recorded a marginal increase within the same period.

The survey shows that the garri, which was sold for two and a half cups for N500 and five cups for N1, 000 now sells for two cups for N500 and four cups for N1, 000.

The price of staple foods has continued to increase in the state despite an intervention by the state government through the bulk purchase agency – a newly established department through which 5kg of staple food items including rice, garri and beans are shared with vulnerable persons captured in the state social register.

A mother of four, Glory Akpan, who was at Itam market to buy foodstuffs for her family some days ago, told this reporter that it was shocking that a crayfish portion for N100 has disappeared from the market.

Mrs Akpan who wanted to buy crayfish for N1, 000 was forced to buy for N2,000 but lamented that it might be okay for what she wanted to prepare.

Responding to concerns raised by her customer, the crayfish vendor, who gave her name simply as “Mfon” said there might not be a crayfish portion for N200 from June unless something is done.

Asked what should be done, she identified transportation fares and the cost of diesel which the fishermen used for fishing.

“The hardship is biting harder,” a young lady, Uduak Akpan, who was at the market to buy foodstuffs, lamented.

Ms Akpan described the increase in the price of crayfish as “disturbing” but said no matter the price Nigerians would still buy in silence.

however, observed prices of other commodities like beans, rice and oil have remained stable as at last reported in April.

Why increase the price of crayfish?
Agriculture, security and rural development aimed at stemming the tide of rural-urban migration are top priorities in Governor Umo Eno’s blueprint – “Arise Agenda.”

In his inaugural address a year ago, Mr Eno identified agriculture as the “new black gold” and promised that his government would “invest heavily” and “cause revolution to occur in the sector.”

“Food security and investments in the agro-allied sector will be an abiding article of faith. We will deploy our comparative advantage in the blue economy, and ensure that our fishermen get proper financial value for their work,” the governor had said.

But a year into his administration, the security situation in the state both on land and in the waterways has worsened and fishermen are not getting financial value for their work as promised by the governor.

Crayfish vendors identified sea pirates as a major reason for the ballooning price of the seafood.

Otobong Kenjoshua, a foodstuffs vendor in Afaha Ube Road in Uyo and Emem Augustine, blamed the increase in the scarcity of crayfish on the skyrocketed price of petrol and sea pirates.

“The fishermen are complaining of attacks by sea pirates,” a development they said does not allow them access to the high sea.

The fishermen, Mrs KenJoshua said also complained about spending so much to buy petrol without making a commensurate catch, a cost they (fishermen) transfer to the customers.

According to her, a bag (18kg) of crayfish that was sold for N150,000 in April now sells at N260,000 for the same amount.

“Fuel is the major problem now, that is why the prices of commodities are increasing. Once the price of fuel drops, everything will align,” she said, suggesting that prices of commodities may not drop as the price of petrol has witnessed a 400 per cent increase since President Bola Tinubu declared an end to subsidy a year ago.

The attacks on the fishermen have been on the increase after the state government last December handed over 14 gunboats to the Nigerian Navy to boost maritime security.

The National Coordinator, Akwa Ibom Human Rights Community, Clifford Thomas, said the commissioners are interpreting the governor’s vision in the sector well.

“The governor has plans that have not been fully understood and interpreted not to talk of implementation,” he says just as lamented the high cost of crayfish despite Akwa Ibom having the longest coastline in the country.

Mr Thomas, a lawyer, said the crayfish business in the state is dominated by non-indigenes, the basis, he said, it’s price has skyrocketed.

“About crayfish, people from neighbouring states are in charge of the crayfish industry in Akwa Ibom State. Why can’t the governor quietly go in and look at what the problems of fishermen are and then get them those fishing gear and let them know how they can repay?

“A bag of crayfish shouldn’t be sold at N135,000 again, but N80,000 and the people who buy should be our people not those from neighbouring states.

“We have the product but we are suffering from availability. People from neighbouring states come in, buy the boats, and fishing gear and give to our people – this is what you will make and this is the much I will pay you. They might sell it at N80,000 in Aba but N130,000 in Uyo because whoever pays the piper dictates its tune,”
Mr Clifford said.

The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Waterways, Koko Essien, did not respond to phone calls for comments.

Timfon John, the police spokesperson in the state, when contacted told PREMIUM TIMES that the command was aware of the fishermen being attacked by sea pirates.

Ms John said the commissioner of police had mobilised operatives to arrest the situation.

Posted: at 27-05-2024 09:02 PM (3 weeks ago) | Addicted Hero
- kp45 at 27-05-2024 09:46 PM (3 weeks ago)
Posted: at 27-05-2024 09:46 PM (3 weeks ago) | Addicted Hero
- gogoman at 27-05-2024 09:49 PM (3 weeks ago)
poor man food and yet poor man can't eat again  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
Posted: at 27-05-2024 09:49 PM (3 weeks ago) | Grande Master