COVID-19 Lockdown: Food shortage hits Bayelsa as prices soar

Restrictions of movements over the coronavirus pandemic has led to shortage of staple foods and rising prices in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The affected items include, sachet water which the residents depend on due to absence of potable water, grains and food condiments amongst others.

A market survey at rural and urban markets in Bayelsa at the weekend showed over 100 per cent increase in the prices of Garri, Yam, Tomatoes and other food items following measures put in place to check the spread of COVID-19.

Checks at Okordia-Zarama, a rural market and Swali market in the urban area of the state capital showed that a four-litre plastic container measure of garri which sold for N600 few days before the restrictions, now sells for N1,500.

For sachet water packaged in bags of 20 pieces which sold for N100, same now goes for N150 as dealers said the lockdown had held down supplies from neighbouring states.

Mrs Obiageli Nwafor, a housewife said that the quantity of tomatoes she usually buys at N300 now goes for N800 on Saturday due to the lockdown announce by both Rivers and Bayelsa governments.

She said that iced fish, meat, vegetables and other edible items were not left out of the upward swing in prices.

“The restrictions announced by the government which effectively closed interstate borders between Rivers and Bayelsa has caused scarcity of food in the markets as traders run out of stock.

“The traders source a lot of things consumed in Bayelsa from neigbouring states and the directive to halt inter-state travels has affected food prices and traders are capitalizing on it by exploiting the people,” Nwafor said.

She noted that the preventive measures were necessary to discourage unnecessary travels amongst the people but advised Bayelsa government to take a closer look at the directive to allow vehicles to bring in food.

According to her, although Bayelsa had not recorded any incident, the confirmed infection in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital on Thursday, was a source of concern.