Prices of essential fruits have gone beyond the reach of consumers in Enugu metropolis.
Such fruits are pineapple, cucumber, oranges and water melon. Sellers however attribute the increase to high cost of transporting the fruits from the northern parts of the country.
An official of the fruit sellers’ association at New Market, Enugu, Mr Gabriel Uka, said, “The prices have continued to rise, and they will likely continue because of increases in prices of petroleum products. Water melon that we used to buy around N250. 00 per head is now N500. 00; so we can’t sell without interests. This country is becoming something else. We don’t produce all these fruits here. We buy from Benue, Taraba, Jos and other parts of the north. Aside all these, the products are becoming scarce from the sources.”
A buyer, Mrs Monica Ncheta, said, “I’m recommended to be on fruits daily on health grounds. With the way the prices are going, it will be difficult to sustain my dependent on fruits. A small head of water melon that I used to buy N300. 00 is now N750.00. This is not the country we used to know. Before, dealers beg people to buy fruits at New Market, but today, when you are talking, sellers won’t talk to you.”
A food expert, Dr Charles Anyanwu, said people of the Southeast should sit up towards ensuring the food security of the region. Anyanwu, a lecturer, said, “Recently food sellers in the North embarked on strike, and we all suffered the adverse impacts. While we are singing that foodstuffs would become cheaper, prices of fruits have gone geometrically because of the transportation logistics from the North.
The cost of meat is also beyond our reach because we don’t produce anything. Our big men embark on building hotels, filling stations and expensive schools. But northerners value their wealth by their agricultural potentials. I blame both our governments and individuals for our ordeals.
“Over here, we don’t know various agro-support schemes of government. This is not the same in the North, where agriculture is their mainstay. Today, buying fruits has become something else. And we have the land and the knowledge. Our youths simply want to become politicians.”
A young farmer at Ngwo, James Chime, blamed the poor attitude to farming by the youths in the region to their inability to access easy loans like their counterparts from other parts of the country.
He said, “I applied for a government funded agro-scheme since 2018, and no response yet. They say it’s CBN agro-scheme. We registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission. We paid for the training. Till today, it has been do this and do that. I lived in the North and saw how they access these funds.”