By Wender K. Massaquoi
Local commodity sellers at the Ganta Central Market are calling on the national government to drop the high rate US in the market, which is causing the prices of all commodities to skyrocket.
On tour of the general market in Ganta recently, the prices of the local produce commodity has gone up and continue to rise daily, something the marketers put the cause to the high US rate, which is now L$ 120 to US$1 in the Ganta.
The buying rate for one US dollar is around L$120 in many of the stores, while the street vendors or money ex changers, exchanged US$ for L$117 to $L119.
A business woman only identified as Lucia, who also earns her living by selling retail palm oil, said before a container of oil was bought for L$1300, but, now it is purchased for L$1900 at the oil depot, while in the general market, it is sold for L$2,000 and even more.
She said it is so disheartening to see the locally produced commodities like pepper, bitter-ball, cucumber, okra, etc. to be sold expensive, all because of the prevailing US rate in the market.
“The cost of transportation is up, at the same the farmers are complaining that the cost of fertilizers and others farming tools have gone up,” she said.
“To get these commodities from the bush, it costs more money now than before, so we have increase the price so we get our money back, before we think about profit,” said one Martha, bitter-ball seller.
The prices imported food items such as frozen food, vegetable oil, onions, among others, have also gone up, creating hardship for the citizens in the wake of the election.
Mrs. Irene Gonquoi, a mother of 6, who sells frozen food at the Ganta General Market, said the prices of fish and frozen chicken or meat have doubled and it is not easy getting profit to sustain the family.
She further said, a carton of chicken “drum sticks” was purchased before for L$850, but is now it is L$2050, while pork products that were once bought for L$1,000 are now sold for L$1,500.
“A carton of zipper fish which contains three lines and cost L$2,500 few months ago, is now sold for L$5700 for a carton,” she said.
A fish sellers, Fatumata Kromah told this reporter that a carton of snapper fish was once bought for L$4,500 but now it costs L$7,500. “A week ago, I bought a carton of snapper fish to sell. Unfortunately for me, I did not even get my money back, not to even talk about profit,” she added.
“A cup of rice is now sold for L$40 which is actually a half cup in real sense and when six cups are remeasured, it hardly amounts to 4 actual cups to feed your family,” said an elderly lady.
In a conversation with a pepper seller she said, “a bucket of pepper was bought for L$200-250 but now it costs L$500 while the bag is L$6,000 in the bush or on the farm.
This issue does not only affect business people, but it is also affecting the consumers.
“Now, L$300 can’t provide good soup for family, unless you spend at least L$500,” a shopper at the Ganta Market asserted.