Frozen food traders at the Ijora-Olopa area of Lagos State on Wednesday said they lost various food items worth N10 million between May 23 and May 25, following the lingering national energy crisis.
According to the traders, the persistent electricity outage in the frozen food market is worsened by the scarcity of petrol and diesel, needed to power their power generating plants.
Alhaja Afusat Popoola, the President of the Ajeromi Frozen Food Market Association, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the lost food items included chicken, turkey, fish, shrimps, gizzard and prawns.
Popoola said the traders were victims of the logjam between the Federal Government and petroleum products marketers over outstanding subsidy payment.
She also said her members were caught unawares because they never envisage that the nation was going to be thrown into a prolonged crisis.
She said: “The traders were crying when we ordered them to surrender all the decayed food items for destruction on Tuesday.
“The market has a reputation for selling fresh frozen food and we cannot allow any trader to sell bad frozen food under our leadership.
“What we destroyed on Tuesday because of power outages and our inability to purchase petrol and diesel was worth more than N10 million.
“We are appealing to the Eko Electricity Distribution Company to always consider the impact of outages on our business and the health of the general public.
“Our business depends on regular supply of electricity.”
The market leader said irregular power supply had forced many traders out of the frozen food business and also made many of them to be indebted to the banks.
Popoola said: “We used to have many frozen food traders in this market before but this power outage has cost them to lose their trade.
“Previously, when power supply was regular, we used to sell more than seven trucks of fish, turkey and chicken, daily.
“There is no kind of fish that one will not find in this market before because it is the number one frozen food market but now the poor power supply has liquidated many traders.
“Some of the traders that are using generating sets are spending close to N80,000 to buy diesel or petrol monthly.
“By the time one removes this amount from monthly sales, you discovered that you’ve spent a good part your profit to buy diesel.”
The market leader also urged government to intervene urgently and save the medium-sized frozen food businesses from total collapse.