In the ancient city of Bauchi, masa, known as dough in English, remains a favourite traditional dish for many locals, but its soaring price raises concerns.
Despite the continuous hike, its delicacy keeps attracting not only residents of Bauchi State, but other neighbouring states, including Gombe, Plateau, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Often made from rice, maize and other recipes like sugar and yeast, masa is usually fried in a pan with multiple holes.
Some sources who spoke to WikkiTimes explained that they usually take masa in the morning before eating solid food.
Not only increasing prices but the rich
While bakers could blame the hiked price of masa on the cost of commodities, they could not explain the reason for its diminishing quality.
Ahamad Yusuf, a regular at a masa joint in the Yelwa area of Bauchi State, recalled when three pieces of masa were sold at N50.
Yusuf told WikkiTimes he had to limit his patronage not only because of the price but “it has become so light compared to then,” he said.
Christiana Olamide, another resident, shared a similar view with Yusuf. “Masa used to be rich and cheaper, but now it is costly and fluffy,” said Olamide.
Laraba Patrick, a famous baker in Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, told WikkiTimes she has been in the business since 1998.
In those days, Patrick explained that masa was being sold at N20 and with that, she would finish about 30 mudus of rice in processing it.
“Rice is now expensive because the cultivation of rice requires fertiliser,” Patrick explained. “Then fertiliser was N7,500, but now it costs N26,000 or 30, 000.”
“I used to buy rice at the rate of 150 – 200 par mudu, but now I buy it N700,” she added. “A gallon of oil then costs N8,000, but it now sells for N35,000.”
Godiya Matthew, another baker opposite Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), believes the worsening economy contributes to low patronage from her customers.
“I have been selling masa for over three years,” Mathew told WikkiTimes adding she operates five days a week.
“The increase in foodstuffs has affected my business because my customers have reduced,” she said. “It is not like before.”
She feared her business could fold up someday should the economic trend continue unaddressed.