This Week in the Market

February 4, 2015 With Isata Janneh

This Week in the Market is a column that looks at prices of commodities in various markets across the city of Freetown and seeks the views of traders on sale of their wares.

Concord Times’ Isata Janneh was at the Congo Town Market this week to look at the prices of foodstuff and how petty traders are getting on with sales in the midst of the current Ebola outbreak.

Below is what the traders had to say:

Isata Kamara told Concord Times that she sells Pepper, which now cost Le350,000 per bag, and that she sells to customers by cup for Le2,000. She recalled that few weeks ago there was an increase in the price of the spicy product – a key ingredient for almost all sauces in this country – as it was sold at Le400,000 per bag, which she blamed on restrictions on movement to provincial areas due to the Ebola outbreak.

She attributed the decrease in price to the lifting of restrictions on travel to the provinces by President Ernest Bai Koroma a fortnight ago.

Bridget Kamara, a rice seller, told our reporter she sells various grains of imported rice, including Jasmine which sells at Le180,000 per bag; Thailand which costs Le150,000 a bag; Indian which sells at Le150,000 per bag; and parboiled (Pusawah) which trades at Le170,000 per bag.

However, she told our reporter that she sells per cup to customers.

Mabinty Bangura sells vegetable oil and local palm oil. She told Concord Times that she buys gallons to sell per cup. She said a gallon of palm oil is being sold at Le110,000 while that of vegetable oil sells at Le120,000.

She said the price of vegetable oil per gallon increased to Le113,000 last week, up by Le7,000, while that of palm oil remains the same.

Finda Samura sells sugar, she revealed that a bag of sugar costs Le195,000 and she in turn sells per cup to customers at Le1,300.

She said the price of sugar has remained the same for about a month now but lamented though that business is slow in the market and that profit is marginal.

Fatu Kamara is a meat seller; she told Concord Times that she buys a whole pig and slaughters it for sale by pound to customers who come to the Congo Market.

A pound of meat costs Le8,000, she said, adding that although the profit margin is not high yet it is better than sitting at home doing nothing.

Adama Sesay sells onions. She disclosed that a bag of onions sells at Le195,000. She too complained about low profit margin, and blamed the galloping inflation on lack of market regulation.

Foodstuff                                                                   Price

Pepper per bag                                                         Le 350,000

Bag of sugar                                                             Le 195,000

Pig meat per pound                                                  Le 8,000

Vegetable oil per gallon                                           Le 120,000

Palm oil per gallon                                                   Le 110,000

Onion per bag                                                           Le 195,000

Rice per bag (Jasmin)                                               Le 180,000

Rice per cup                                                              Le 1,000

Maggi per packet                                                     Le 10,000

Groundnut per bag                                                   Le 390,000

A tie of potato leaves                                               Le 1,000

A tie of cassava leaves                                             Le 1,000

A tie of ogiri                                                             Le 500

A tin of tomato                                                         Le 1,000

Salt per tomato cup                                                  Le 200

A carton of chicken                                                   Le 92,000