Food Supply Blockade: Prices Skyrockets In Nnewi and Onitsha Markets

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By Karen James

 

Following Northern foodstuffs union blockade of supply of foods and cattle to southern part of the country as a result of farmers-herdsmen crisis across some southern States of the country.

Residents and foodstuff dealers in Nnewi,Onitsha and its environs are experiencing difficult times as the restriction on food supply from northern states to southern Nigeria by northern traders hits Anambra State.

Pechilly Investigative visited Nkwo Nnewi market, Army Gate tomatoes market Onitsha, Ose market and Ochanja market all in Onitsha today, 3rd March, 2021,to ascertain the effects of the blockade on foodstuffs at the local markets.

Speaking to foodstuff traders and customers at the markets, News Echo gathered that the prices of foodstuffs in the markets has increased astronomically due to the blockade.

At Nkwo Nnewi food section market, Mr. Aloysius Eze,a grain seller lamented that his stock is running low and there is no place he can buy from as the blockade made his goods to hang in transit,this made him to increase the price of grains in his shop as he doesn’t know when the blockade will end.

At Army gate tomatoe Market, News Echo discovered that a basket of Tomatoes sold at #3500 naira as at last week is now #17,000 naira, and basket of pepper sold for #4500 naira last week is presently #13,000 naira while bag of onion is now #32,000naira as against the #15,000 naira sold last week.

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At Ose market, meat sellers were idling away as Pechilly Investigative met empty tables while few with meats on their tables were selling at a high price as they lamented the scarcity of Cows to butcher as a result of the blockade of foodstuffs from the north.

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At Ochanja market, yam seller Mrs. Ekwy Okoro also lamented the scarcity of yams from the northern part of the country due to the blockade, she said the one that is coming in now is from Benue state and traders are rushing to buy it,hence the prices were high making it difficult for some traders to buy and resell to customers.

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However, Mr. Iwunna Onwudiwe a foodstuff buyer at Ochanja market said “though people are feelling the effects of the blockade by some union traders from the north that decided to hold back the food coming to the southern part of the country for reasons best known to them, this blockade is an opportunity for southerners to rediscover themselves and make hey while the sun shines.

He continued,” I knew that one day the northerners will use hunger as an instrument of war to revenge on the south over failed RUGA policy rejected by the southern States, but I trust our survival instincts, we can only go back to Agriculture and make use of our arable lands by mechanize farming, when rice imports were banned, people started to cultivate local rice while rice mills sprang up at various agrarian communities, today what I eat is Adani and Anaku local rice and I have not died since the banning of foreign rice importation. So you see, if the north blocks foodstuffs, we don’t have to start looking for what to block from the south also, rather we ought to start looking for ways to be self sufficient in food production by going into aggressive mechanized farming and animal husbandry, if Isreal as a country can grow foods in desert lands and becomes 3rd highest producer of food in the world, why can’t we do so in a rush green lands. We can’t beg them to send food to us, let them keep it afterall its perishables apart from cow and goats and we can’t beg Federal government also to intervene because they can easily deregister the union from corporate affairs commission and it will become a faceless union with no authority ,then they can be dealt with for causing actions that can breach the security of the country, they also loose revenue from the blockade. If it goes on like this, then its an opportunity for us to restrategize on our survival as individuals and as a people by refocusing on our agricultural abilities and make use of modern technology to aid farming like the Israelis, then we will not be at anybody mercy, we will survive the onslaught “ he concluded.

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