Farmers blame season, pests, rice, insecurity for onion price hike

•Consumers lament sudden rise in prices

FARMERS in the north east and north western parts of the country from where onions are produced and transported to other zones for consumption have blamed seasonal fluctuations, pests, abandonment of the commodity for rice and insecurity for the current acute shortage and high cost of onions in the market.

Nigerian Tribune investigations spanned Sokoto, Zamfara, Taraba, Bauchi and states.

Farmers and traders adduced different reasons in different states as reasons for the scarcity and the unprecedented high cost of the commodity.

In Taraba and Adamawa, Messrs Cletus Dangana and Yusuf Danburam who specialize in rice and onions farming in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba and near Numan in Adamawa State attributed the sudden increase in price of onions to the loss of interest of many farmers during the last planting season because of Federal Government’s emphasis on rice.

According to them, this was responsible for a reduction of harvest by at least 50 percent of previous harvests.

Amino Hammed and Dauda Ali both of who are mega onion marketers in Jalingo main market, said prices had risen by at least 31 percent from farmgate.

They explained that a 70kg bag that previously sold for N30,000 now goes for N40,000.

In Bauchi, an onion merchant, Malam Musa Mai Kayan Miya, said onion had become scarce because of poor yield caused by pests, which destroyed what was planted mostly in the state by the onion farmers saying that they now had to rely on other places like Gombe, Jigawa and parts of Plateau States for supply.

A visit to Kasuwan Tomato at the Muda Lawal market in the city revealed that onions though in high demand now is scarce as it is only available in small quantities.

Another grocery trader, Auwalu Damina said for now, a portion of onion which used to be N50 now sells for N300 because it is scarce and exorbitant even for them to buy from the farmers.

He also cited high cost of transportation as one of the reasons.

Mrs Comfort Musa who was in the market to buy soup ingredients lamented that cost of onions only consumed what she came to buy lamenting that without onions, the soup will not be complete.

In Sokoto, traders blamed bandits’ attack on local governments where onions are cultivated for the scarcity and high cost of the product.

A major marketer, Alhaji Umar Yabo, disclosed that banditry prevented many farmers from farming this year.

According to him, places like Rabbah and Goronyo local governments which used to be the major farmers of onions in the state couldn’t make enough this year due to this so called bandits attack.

Also speaking, an onion farmer, Mallam Bello Isa, emphasized that onion prices are usually high around this time of the year due to high demands of the products for festivities.

He appealed to government at all levels to make the issue of security especially in the rural areas more improved so as to help farmers in the area.

Taraba State Commissioner for Agriculture, David Ishaya in a chat with Nigerian Tribune said the state government has received the report of the sudden increase in prices of onions and was making all efforts to make it accessible for the common retailers and consumers.

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