COVID-19: Smuggled rice floods Lagos as residents brace for shutdown

As residents of Lagos prepare for the total shutdown of major markets in Lagos State due to the rapid spread of the pandemic (COVID-19), smuggled foreign rice has hit major market in the state, Blueprint has gathered.

According to the latest household survey, despite the closure of the country’s land borders, the past few weeks have been characterized with rise in the smuggling of foreign rice.

It was gathered that the various brand of foreign rice is being smuggled into the country, as traders disguise them in local bags to beat government tracking systems.

On smuggling, according to a major rice dealer at Daleko market, “some traders smuggling foreign rice into Nigeria and rebranding them into local bags so as not to escape government sanctions.”

The rice dealer who pleaded to remain anonymous, said that despite the closure of borders, recently, some major traders are now smuggling the item into the market disguised as local goods.”

Speaking further, he disclosed that local rice production has flooded Lagos markets, and this is a good development, but the quality of the product is still below par due to stones and dirt. He however, pleaded with the government to help block the channels where foreign brands of rice are still being smuggled into the country.

Meanwhile, major food items reduced significantly across major markets in the state as prices of tomatoes, pepper, Onions and Maize recorded significant drop. Specifically, a big bag of New Onions currently sells for an average of N11,000 compared to N25,000 recorded two weeks ago while Dry Onions sells for N13,000 from an initial average of N30,000.

On the other hand, some items such as Yam, Garri and Crayfish recorded increase in prices. For instance, the price of a big tuber sized yam rose from N875 recorded earlier in the month to sell for an average of N1,375.

A 25 Litres gallon of local vegetable oil currently sells for an average of N12,575 from an initial average of N12,925. This indicates a 2.71 per cent increase in two weeks.

The price of a 5 litres gallon of local vegetable oil also reduced by 2.22 per cent to sell for an average of N2,200 from an initial average of N2,250.

A big basket of round shaped tomatoes reduced significantly to sell for an average of N5,500. It reduced by 26.67 per cent from an initial average of N7,500 recorded earlier in March.

While a medium sized basket of round shaped tomatoes currently sells for N3,200 compared to N3,500 recorded two weeks ago.

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