Dawanau international grain market in Kano state has been a market that deals purely with grains for ages.
The market was originally established to serve as major source of grains for the state and a storage centre for all types of farm produce.
However, the market has grown to international status supplying all types of grains and other cash crops not only to other parts of Nigeria, but also to several West Africa countries.
It was also observed that Dawanau was initially started as a market meant for the supply of food crops before it metamorphosed to a major supplier of various cash crops for export, a corn dealer in the market, Alhaji Habibu Auwal Gezawa, said.
Kano Chronicle observed that all types of grains including millet, corn, maize, beans, soya beans, wheat and rice as well as cash crops such as pigeon beans, sesame, tamarin, ginger and hibiscus popularly known as zobo among others are being sold in the market.
One interesting issue with Dawanau market is that traders from various parts of Nigeria and West African countries patronise the market on daily basis. It was gathered that a larger quantity of the beans sold in the market came from the neighbouring Niger republic.
Traders, from Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin republic do come to Dawanau for the business of grains. In the recent times, traders from India and China have also joined the trend by sourcing cash crops from the market and exporting same to their respective countries.
Acting Chairman of the market’s Association, Alhaji Murtala Muhammed Labaran, popularly known as Murtala Danmutum, said the market was established over 46 years ago and it had a historic business ties with Niger, Chad, Cameroon and many other African countries for a very long time.
“Initially this market has been a centre for obtaining grains particularly sorghum and millet for local consumption and mini export.
“However, with the recent ban on grain export the market has over the last three years become a centre for cash crop exportation. Initially, West African countries takes about 45% of our daily sales but with the recent ban on exportation of grain many of our business associates changed to exportation of cash crops such as pigeon beans, sesame, tamarin, ginger and hibiscus popularly known as zobo among others,” the acting chairman said.
He added that export of these commodities had expanded presently to America, Asia and some European countries, saying no fewer than 50 to 70 trucks of assorted grain were leaving the market on daily basis for local consumption and about 100 to 150 trucks export different types of crops to various African countries every day.
He said most of the commodities were being sourced within Nigeria and its neighbouring countries especially Niger republic.
“Though, the market lacks modern facilities, exportation has gained a strong ground in the market. There are over 200 internationally registered companies conducting their business in this market. Our business outlets have grown tremendously and business in the market is now more lucrative than it was before. There are over 4000 people earning a living daily in this market and you can imagine the revenue accruing to the local government and the state,” he revealed.
The chairman further stated that, for the sustainability and improvement on the success so far recorded, there was a need for the state government to modernise the market through provision of modern facilities and fencing for effective security, adding that there was also the need for good road network in the market to ease commuting.
Malam Hamisu Dan Wawu a grain businessman, who has been conducting business in Dawanau for over 34 years, said the market had produced a lot of indigenous wealthy businessmen since its inception.
Dan Wawu added that the market was initially owned and managed purely by Nigerians, regretting that “Now Indians and Chinese people have flooded the market and are gradually taking over businesses. People may not get to understand what is happening in this market, initially the market is being run and controlled by indigenous businessmen, but now the market is more or less being indirectly run by expatriates and our businessmen are working for them.
“If a survey can be conducted on the companies that are currently operating in the market, the result will indicate that the entire business taking place in Dawanau market has been taken away from indigenous businessmen.”
Similarly, Alhaji Umaru Ado a seasoned farmer in Kano state stated that, there was need for effective policies on exportation of cash crops as massive scoop of grain from Nigeria through the Dawanau market could spell doom for the country and may lead to food shortage if care has not been taken.
Ado added that, though this year’s harvest seems to be good, the only way Nigerian government would address massive scoop of grain from the market was by re-introducing marketing boards in all the states in order to have total control of business activities in the market and the country at large.
“It is good to have such board in the country. As a farmer and a businessman that deals in grains, I suggest that there should be an established government marketing board that will ensure conformity to set policies on importations and exportations of crops,” he suggested.