Foodstuff dealers cutting across different ethnic groups in the country have lamented the biting effect of blockade of farm produce from the northern to southern part of the country. The traders, who spoke to journalists in Enugu yesterday, said that they had incurred debts running into millions of Naira as a result of wasted produce trapped on transit. At Akwata, Ogbete Main Market, Enugu State; Igbo, Hausa, Igala and other traders across ethnic nationalities expressed concerns over the continued blockade.
Some of the wholesale dealers at the market said for the past six days, their truck loads of farm produce were seized in the North as some of their goods like onions, beans, dry fish and so on were spoiling under the intense heat and sunshine.
They further revealed that since the blockade began, prices of farm produce have skyrocketed in the market, adding that only a few people were able to smuggle their goods into the state. Charles Ugwu while speaking on how they were affected said “this is where we eat; it made us to stay redundant doing nothing in the market with nothing to sell.
“You will just come to market, wastethetimeandgo home; we are hugely affected because it is where we feed our family. You can see that when you met us, we were sitting down discussing.” Another trader, who deals on dry fish from North, Chidi Ibe said “the available fish in the market now where smuggled into the state and they are costly; the size of dry fish we sold earlier about forty thousand naira is now over sixty thousand naira.” Also the Enugu state Vice- Chairmanof theOnionsSellers Association of Nigeria, Akwata Ogbete Main market, Mr. Fabian Okpemadu said “the blockade affect them tremendously because the quantity of the onions they sold earlier for eleven thousandis now above fifteen thousand naira.” An onion seller in the market, Abubakar Mohammed noted that their customers who were largely women cannot afford to buy it due to high cost of the farm produce and urged the government to intervene.