By Mike Adeyemi
New yams are beginning to flood markets in Ilorin, the commercial nerve of Kwara State.
A market survey by National Pilot on Thursday showed that farmers from agrarian communities such as Alapa, Kaiama, and other parts of Kwara State, brought their yam produce to Ganmo Market, to sell to the public.
National Pilot reports that the farmers, who were seen unloading the tubers from their vehicles, actually started arriving early this month. The yams were stacked in heaps and arranged in different sizes.
Speaking with our reporter at Ganmo Market, a farmer, Jimoh Saka said that yams from Alapa axis had not grown well this year, noting that the challenges could be blamed on ravaging herdsmen attacks.
Saka lamented that they had just edging out of the aftermath of lockdown which affected the planting of yam seedlings and ultimately disrupted farming practices.
“We were not able to provide the fertilisers and the herbicides that ought to help to boost the crop yield. The rains and sun, however, did help in improving the yield,” he said.
Another Farmer, Amos Azeez from Kaiama, who also came to sell his produce, said that his yams did well this year because of the fertility of their land.
“You can see that the tubers from Kaiama performed better than those from other parts of Kwara,” he said.
A yam dealer, Mrs. Omolola Yusuf, said that the prices of yams were good for now since the tubers were still being harvested.
Mrs Grace Agboluaje, a buyer, expressed delight at the sight of the new yams, noting that their presence would force down the price of yams in the market.
“Old yams, which sold at N800, now sell between N500 and N600 while the new yams are sold between N300 and N600, depending on the size.
“Yam is more affordable now that the rainy season has brought in much fresh food; an indication that farmers are experiencing bumper harvests in spite of herders infractions on farm land,” she said.
Other fresh produce largely seeming in the markets included groundnuts, potatoes, garden eggs and rice.
Also speaking, Zainab Ibrahim, a yam seller said that six yams that previously cost N3,000 now sell for N1,200 while the price of 60 tubers of yam had dropped to 18,000 from N30,000.
Ibrahim said that the price of yam would still drop as the harvest period lasted.
She however, observed that exportation of yams would limit the drop in the price of yam this harvest season.
In his own contribution, Fatahi Adebayo, a farmer, identified one of the factors causing price hike as the high cost of farm inputs and transportation occasioned by bad roads.
He urged the Federal Government to rehabilitate rural roads to ease farmers stress in the transportation of farm produce to urban centre.
A yam seller at Ipata Market, Jumoke Aduroja said that five big tubers of yam previously sold for N4,000 now cost N2,500.
Jumoke added that five small tubers which cost N2,200 before, now sell for N800.
Similarly, in Mandate Market, five big tubers of yam now cost N3,000 as against N4,500 before the new yam while a bag of maize sells for N22,000 against N24,000 previously.
Tawa Olorunoje, a food seller at the market attributed the fall in the prices of foodstuffs to the ongoing harvest of farm produce.
“Usually, prices of foodstuffs come down at this period of harvest but by the end of October, there may be slight changes in the prices when harvest of crops draw to a close,” Olorunoje, said.