Food Blockade: Food Prices Fall In North, Farmers, Traders Run At Loss

Farmers and traders in Kano are lamenting as farm produce, which can’t be sent to the South due to the ongoing strike by sellers of cows and foodstuff, are now being sold at the North at ridiculously low prices.

In a video shared by Daily Trust, the farmers and marketers at the Gun-Dutse onion market, Dawakin Kudu Local government Area of Kano State, are seen lamenting the effect of the ongoing strike by the sellers of cows and foodstuff.

Since last Thursday, trucks bringing foodstuff to the Southern part of Nigeria were turned back at Kara Jebba, the last village between Niger state and Kwara state, to prevent them from bringing food to the South.

This strike is connected to an ultimatum given by the national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to the Federal Government, which demanded compensation for the losses suffered by Northern traders in the recent mayhem at Shasha market in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The strike led to an increase in the price of food commodities in the South, but the prices are plummeting in the north.

Farmers said before the protest, they usually transport a minimum of 20 trucks to the southern part of the country daily, but the strike has affected them badly.

The largest bag of onion, sold at N35,000 few weeks ago and as high as N70,000 during the onion scarcity last year, is now being sold for N7,000.

With the strike entering its fifth day (on Tuesday), farmers and foodstuff marketers in Kano, especially those who deal with tomatoes have begun to feel the impact with prices further plummeting.

Findings revealed that many tomato farmers have abandoned their farms due to a shortage of outlets as well as their inability to continue spending their resources in harvesting the produce.

Many farmers now prefer to cut their losses and allow the tomatoes to rot on the farms rather than expend resources to package and transport it to the Southern part of the country. This is because AUFCDN officials have mounted blockades to enforce compliance at strategic places like Lokoja in Kogi State and Jebba in Kwara State.

It was also gathered that the union’s move has created a serious tomato glut as it is harvest season for the produce and instead of the farmers counting gains, they are busy counting losses.

A visit to the Kadawa irrigation site in Garun Malam Local Government of Kano State revealed several tomato farms due for harvest left unattended by the farmers.

According to the state chairman of Tomato Out Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN), Alhaji Sani Danladi Yadakwari, the recent move by the union has dealt them a heavy blow.

He added that already there has been a glut in tomato harvested in this year’s dry season in the state, which resulted in a drastic crash in its price in the open market.

He said already tomato farmers in the state have called on the state government to intervene and save the situation to save the farmers from incurring heavy losses that might result in the total crippling of tomato farming.

“There is a need for the government and other authorities concerned to wade into the issue and rescue these farmers from total loss,” he pleaded.

At Kwanar Gafan Tomato Market in Garun Malam Local Government Area of the state, it was gathered that the market that initially loads about 35 to 40 trucks of tomatoes to other parts of the country every day has not loaded a single truck in the last five days.

According to a tomato merchant, Malam Ibrahim Ghali Dumaji current tomato price has not been favourable and encouraging as tomatoe that could fill a big basket is sold at N850 while the basket itself is sold at N750 thereby bringing the total cost of a basket of tomato to N1600.

“The union’s recent strike and the current glut has thrown tomato farmers, marketers and other perishable farmers in Kano State into a serious crisis as many farmers abandoned their farms, awaiting a miracle. This is a serious challenge taking into consideration the cost of production and other expenses incurred during the planting and harvesting processes,” he said.

It was, however, gathered that the only solace available to tomato farmers is the Dangote Tomato Processing Company under the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) that offers far more than the farmers make in open markets.

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