Grain dealers in Sokoto State are experiencing a glut despite the commencement of the Holy month of Ramadan and they attribute it to delay in the payment of the state’s civil servants.
The demand for beans, commonly used for kosai or akara (bean cake), and millet, for kunun tsamiya (tamarind porridge) in the northern part of the country usually goes up during Ramadan and farmers usually flood the markets during the period.
“There is plenty in the rural areas and here in the urban areas,” said a grains seller, Alhaji Ahmadu, at the Sokoto Old Market.
Alhaji Ahmadu who has been in the grain business since 1980, said, “Millet price has remained at N10,000 to N11,500 per bag, the amount we bought it during harvest.
“For beans, we bought a bag at N20,000 and stored it. We bought storage facilities, yet the price is coming down to N18,000, N15,000, N17,000, depending on the variety.”
The grain dealers noted that with the commencement of Ramadan, the demand has been short of expectation.
Amadu who did not anticipate increase in the price of grains, urged people to fear Allah and desist from unnecessary increase of price which he said brought hardship to the common man.
At the Kara Grains Depot, a bag of millet costs between N10,000 and N11,000. For beans, the small variety costs N13,000 to N14,000 per bag, while the big variety costs N16,000 to N17,000, and there is a variety that goes for N19,000.
“We are facing serious glut this time around. Don’t you see me taking shelter under this tree, it is a sign of glut. I wouldn’t have had time to sleep at this time of the day,” he said.
The dealer attributed the abundance of foodstuff to mass agricultural revolution by the present administration which according to him had yielded dividend.
He recalled that the first 10 days of the previous Ramadan witnessed an increase in foodstuff prices, especially for beans and millet.
Another grains dealer, Nurudeen Sani, who trades at the Sokoto Central Market, said the prices of beans and millet had remained stable, adding that a bag of millet cost N12,000, while a measure stood at N320.
At the central market grains depot, Mallam Umaru Senior, spokesman of the Grains Sellers Association (GSA), said, “Before Ramadan, we recorded huge sales of both millet and beans. I could sell up to 10 bags in a day, amounting to about N100,000, but now that Ramadan is around again, we have not recorded the usual hustle and bustle at the market.”
He added that, “I have not sold a bag of beans today, but I managed to sell a bag yesterday. A bag of beans costs N20,000 and a measure costs N500, but now that Ramadan has commenced, the market has collapsed, forcing us to sell a bag at N16,000 while a measure at N450.
The spokesman, however, said, “We pray for good times for our commodities. Just recently, we got patronage from the Sokoto State Zakat Committee which purchased 100 bags each of rice, wheat and beans from one of our members.”
He said as an association with over 1,000 members, GSA ensured control of standard measures across the central and satellite markets in the metropolis and in the 23 local government areas of the state.
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