In Nigeria, many people now choose broken bits of roasted maize due to the absurd economy.

In Nigeria, many people now choose broken bits of roasted maize due to the absurd economy.

One may not fully comprehend the level of damage the present economic condition has done to the living standard of Nigerians until he comes face to face with the squalor among the grassroots dwellers and low-income earners.

It may sound funny, but it is true that majority of artisans and low income earners cannot buy a whole stick of roasted corn today.

Even if they can afford it, the consequence of parting with N300 just to eat corn is dare.

Yes, that is what a stick of roasted corn goes for in most rural dwellings. In some parts of urban dwelling, it goes as much as N500 or more.

For ages, corn has been one of the natural snacks that comes handy and cheap for Nigerians.

Though seasonal, many people await its arrival with great enthusiasm, as it complements other nutritious food like beans, pear, coconut amongst others.

However, the rise in prices of foodstuff, including those cultivated within the country, and non-increase in income of workers have taken the shine off making roasted or cooked corn a favourite snack.

So, today, like a joke,on the roadside corn seller’s stand, you’ll see ‘half corn’ for sale. That is a stick of corn broken into two, so it can be affordable to the poor.

An Oshodi, Lagos-based corn seller, Mrs. Onoriode Johnson, told Economy&Lifestyle that the bad economy is total on everything including purchasing the corn from farmers.

She said a small size ear of corn sold for N50 or N100 in the past, now goes for N300 or more.

She added: “A bigger size ear of corn today cannot be anything less than N500, if you add all expenses incurred in getting it from the farmers and transporting it down here.

“We can’t make much progress as a country, if we continue this way. Some food like corn are not supposed to be affected by the economy the way we are seeing it now, but unfortunately, exactly the opposite is the reality today.

“So, what we now do is to break the corn into two or three parts to give every level of customer the opportunity to buy.

“You know, there are those who stop here in their cars and ordered for six sticks and pay whatever you tell them. But there are also those who will come here, spend over 30 minutes, turning the corn many times but will not buy because they can’t afford it.

“Most people in this category are artisans and students. So, breaking it into parts helps them a lot. Shebi dem say the poor should breathe? That’s what we are doing.”

Mrs. Awelewa Shotunde, a corn seller at Ikorodu, named the cost of charcoal and logistics as another cause for the increased cost of an ear of corn.

She said: “You know that corn is a seasonal fruit and as the season fades so also its price increases because of scarcity.

“This is known by all. But the main reason you see some corn sellers portion corn is to easily sell them off, especially to people who can’t afford a whole.

“Before, corn sellers didn’t portion corn. But the situation of the country’s economy has resulted in such. People need to sell off their goods to make ends meet.

“The high costs of logistics, charcoal and kerosene have made the prices of corn increase from that of before.

“Two years ago, I would have finished selling a bag of corn by this time. But as you can see, I haven’t sold a quarter of a bag.

Another corn seller, at Iyana Iba market, Mrs. Ngozi Okon, , explained that it is only the grace of God that is sustaining people in the business these days.

She said: “Is it not when you are full that you will think of eating snacks? You can see the ears of corn I have roasted and cooked since 11 am , staring at me.

“In this market, a basket or bag of corn sold at N15,000 a few weeks ago is now twice that price, so what do you want us to do?

She said the farmers are citing low harvest, high cost of pesticide coupled with logistics as the reason for the increasing price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *