Onion is now the new gold in Nigeria, this expression has become popular on social media recently due to the scarcity and price hike of the vegetable.
The bulb onion is mainly cultivated in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau, and Bauchi states.
The pocket of the average Nigerian seems to be under attack given the price hike that comes with Christmas festivities combined with fluctuating petrol prices due to deregulation and food inflation that hit 17.38 percent in September.
However, the Nigerian farmer is still juggling the frogs of banditry, flooding, disruption of economic activities due to the #EndSARS protests, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and its movement restrictions, and rising transport costs due to fluctuating petrol price.
TheCable visited popular markets and spoke to farmers in Lagos, Oyo, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, and Abuja to understand why onion prices has gone so high almost discouraging the consumers while the price of tomato, which is also cultivated in the north, is stable.
in Lagos At the two popular food markets, Mile 12 and Oke-Odo, traders said a bag of dry onions that was sold at N35,000 now has a price tag that is as high as N90,000, for retail price a medium bulb cost N200 each.
A trader in Mile 12, who identified himself as Abdullahi, said the increase is due to flooding in northern states such as Sokoto, Kaduna, and Plateau.
“Too much water in the north this year. The weather really affected the growth of onions. Onions don’t need much water, ” he said.
He further said that onions purchased in the Niger Republic are cheaper, selling for N65,000.
“In Arewa, onions are too costly. We have Sokoto, Zaria, Gombe, and the Niger Republic onions. These Niger onions are N65,000 and the Arewa onions go for N80,000,” he said.
Habib Usain, an onion trader at the Oke-Odo Market, said: “The #EndSARS protests is the major reason why the price of onion has increased because transport was halted (non-vehicular movement) during the protest.
“Before the protest started, a basket of onion was selling for N10,000 to N11,000, but now it is selling at N17,000. Lorries transporting the onions into the market were between five to six but nowadays, we only see one or two lorries.”
The #EndSARS protest, which campaigned for general police reform and an end to police brutality, lasted for 13 days in Lagos.
in Oyo State before now we buy a bag for N20,000 and N30,000 but now, it is N75,000, while the white one, N100,000” says a trader
“The dry season is coming and most of our supplies to places like Aba and Lagos were destroyed during the end SARS crises. We lost a lot of money as a result and could not manage the market as usual.
“We watched how most of those products we took to the usual markets in Aba and Lagos were set ablaze. Definitely, we don’t feel it is now secured enough for us to buy the goods and supply them to the major markets after the losses we incurred.”