The price of dried onions – one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in the country has surged by 44 percent as supply volume dropped across markets in Lagos on traders’ suspension.
The Onion Producers and Marketers Association (OPMAN) announced that it has suspended the supply of onions to the entire south since Monday owing to insecurity and the government’s inability to compensate its members who suffered huge losses in the past.
BusinessDay survey at Mile 12 Market, shows that a big bag of onions now sells for N26,000 as against N18,000 sold last week before the suspension, a 44percent rise in price.
The small bag which was sold for N13,000 last week now sells for N19,000, a 46percent increase in price.
In Oyingbo Market, a big bag goes between N25,000 to N28,000, while the small bag sells between 18,000 and N19,500.
“Fewer trucks have been coming into the market since Monday when the discontinuing of supply of the onions to the entire south took effect,” said Musa Ibrahim an onion trader in Mile 12 Market.
“Owing to the shortfall in supply, prices have increased,” Ibrahim said.
He urged the government to reach an agreement with the association quickly to prevent a further hike in prices of onions and also not to further compound the woes of Nigerians who are already struggling to feed.
Africa’s most populous nation produce 1.4million metric tons of dry onions and 247, 599 metric tons of green onions in 2019, data from the Food and Agricultural Organisation shows.
The country has an average yield per hectare of 15MT for dry onions.
“The traders’ are the biggest losers here as onions are highly perishable, so how long can they hold on to their onions?” asked Abiola Olalekan, a trader at Mile 12 Market.
Yearly, the country records huge postharvest losses in onions production owing to inadequate store facilities and poor road network for transporting vegetables from where they are grown to where the markets are located.
It is estimated that post-harvest losses cost the country a $9billion yearly loss.
Post-harvest losses in Africa’s most populous nation have been estimated to range between 5 and 20 percent for grains; 20 percent for fish and as high as between 50 and 60 percent for tubers, fruits, and vegetables, according to experts.
Onions can be cultivated across the entire state but mainly grown in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau, and Bauchi.
It takes an average of three months to grow any variety of onions. Nigeria grows the two major types of onions – bulb and spring.
The bulb onion is much more popular in the country and has three major varieties, red, white, and green, while the spring onion is mainly used for salads and fried rice.
It offers excellent health benefits and a lucrative venture for any aspiring farmer.
Regular consumption of onions helps to reduce the risk of cancers and lower blood sugar levels, as it contains allylpropyl disulfide that helps to reduce glucose levels by increasing the amount of insulin as well as aid digestion.