The recent floods that ravaged parts of Bayelsa State have stalled many businesses, cutting off earnings and leading to hike in prices of many items.
As water which had overflew it bounds in the past weeks begins to recedes in Bayelsa State and people earlier displaced by the flood are having a sigh of relief, at lease hoping to return home soon, the adverse effect created by the menace cannot be overlooked.
Certainly, the economic lives in the state can never be the same after the flood disaster. Checks in some of the markets in the state revealed that most of the goods which before the flood occurrence were a bit affordable have had their prices increased from between 30 and 50 percent thereby making it difficult for residents to cope with the reality.
A food vendor in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, Mrs Mary Akpan, told Daily Trust Saturday that before the flood in August, she used to buy a bag of garri for N3500 but now it is sold for between N5000 and N5500 while a bag of rice now sell for N22, 000 from N19000 pre-flood season.
She also said a crate of soft drink that sold at N1400 now goes for between N1800 and N2000.
A tricycle operator, Mr Uchena Azubike, said though the transport fare will not be increase because fuel price has not changed, it takes more time to reach a destination because of diversion of routes due to the flood.
Recently, the chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in the state, Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, while inspecting rice farms destroyed by flood at Ondewari and Okpotuwari communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, lamented that there would be scarcity of food due to several destruction of farmlands by flood.
Ogbianko, who said that the visit to the farms was to get preliminary information to ascertain the level and impact of flood on the rice farms operated by RIFAN, regretted that despite millions of Naira invested on the project, flood has washed it away.
The paramount ruler of Okpotuwari, Chief Tiger Moses, lamented that they were expecting bumper harvest before the flood ravaged their farmlands.
A fruit dealer in Swali market, Mr Haruna, told Daily Trust Saturday that prices increased, because some of the channels used in transporting the items to the state have been blocked by water.
He said it is not easy doing business during the rainy season because traders always run at lost. “The distances we travel to bring these fruits to Bayelsa before this flood have now increased. For example, if you go to places like Sagbama, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and the rest to sell now, you need to pay double, aside from the risk of carrying the goods inside canoe, at times, those goods get spoiled because of delay. So it has not been easy,”Haruna said.
The Chairman, Association of Chipping Dealers of Nigerian, Bayelsa State chapter, Mr Ikechukwu Nweke, said their business recorded low patronage because most of the project sites have been taken over by flood and gravels have been washed away with dealers running at lost.
The chairman, in company of the secretary, Mr Paulinus Chukwudi Obi, said:“Though we have not increase our prices as one truck of gravel still remain as it used to be, the flood has affected patronage, because most of the project sites are flooded.”