Traders and residents in PortHarcourt, Rivers State, Tuesday raised an alarm over the sudden hike in prices of food items and other commodities.
There are also indications of a famine in the state as most farmers have abandoned their farms over the increasing insecurity in the area.
It was, however, gathered that the scarcity of farm produce, the high cost of petroleum products, transportation and the lack of price control have contributed to the high cost of food.
At a press briefing, the Chairman of the Mile 1, State Ultra-Modern Market, Godspower Wobo and his predecessor, Kenneth Eze Chigozie, said the hike in food items is becoming worrisome, warning that if nothing was done by the state and federal governments, food prices would skyrocket to 200 per cent.
“We have observed that traders buy their goods at high prices on account of hike in fuel, transportation and associated risks of insecurity, all these cumulatively influence the prices of foodstuffs which is borne by the final consumers.
“Farmers are deserting their farms and communities due to criminal attacks by dreaded masked bandits and unknown gunmen.
“Aside from the security challenges, the government is not doing enough to support farmers over mechanized farming to reduce rural/urban migration for white-collar jobs.
“Diversion of government agricultural loans is also a problem. Agricultural loans hardly or never get into the hands of the real rural farmers. Part of the resultant effects are famine and the high cost of farm produce looming in the country.
“Governments should, therefore, address the problems and factors affecting the cost of food and look inwards to encourage local farmers”.