KWARA, Nigeria – Farmers and local foodstuff sellers in Kwara South Senatorial District say the partial closure of the nation’s land borders is bringing them more patronage and high profits.
Alhaji Sanusi Adebayo, a yam dealer in Ajase-Ipo, said the preference for foreign rice had always impacted negatively on his sales and income, but the situation had changed.
“The high preference for foreign rice has never helped our businesses. It has been a problem we have been contending with as traders in yam and other local commodities for a very long time. It has always been a kind of stiff market competition between foreign rice and local foodstuffs like yams ,cassava, beans.
“Even for those of us involved in local rice business, it was the same low patronage until this partial closure of the border changed things for the better. I can tell you that since the closure of borders, things have changed positively; apart from the increase in patronage, our income has also been boosted.
Some of our members who had left the business due to economic downturn are now returning as the market has been more attractive unlike in the period before the closure,” he said.
Theresa David, also a yam dealer in Iloffa also said that the partial border closure had turned around the fortune of her business for the better. “You can see that people have started using yam to do pottage and other recipes during weddings, engagements and other social events more than in the past. “It is just a matter of if what you want is not available you make do with what you have.
“The unavailability of foreign rice due to the partial border closure has forced people to shift to other foodstuffs like yams, semovita, beans, etc. Unlike before the closure, I can now conveniently sell three full truckloads of yam tubers within five market days. “Candidly, the border closure to me is a necessity that will help our businesses to grow and will also create employment for our youths,” she said.