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.
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