By Hawa Lawal
Tudun Wada (Nasarava state) – Exhibitors at the just-concluded National Agricultural Exhibition organized by the National Agricultural Fund of Nigeria (NAFN) complained of poor patronage at the exhibition.
Some of the participants grumbled about poor patronage in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Tudun Wad, Nasarawa, the venue for the agricultural exhibition on Friday.
Exhibitors told NAN that they had witnessed low patronage throughout the four-day event.
They also expressed regret about the weak participation of exhibitors, poor organization of the event, poor customer activity and financial constraints.
They, in particular, expressed dissatisfaction with the low patronage, but attributed a lull in business to a lack of funds that generally affect the population, which equally affected all sectors of the economy.
However, a government official from Kano, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained the low patronage of the current political situation in the country.
He said that in the past several state governments had sponsored members of public and private organizations at the fair, adding, however, that the situation had changed.
The official said that, despite the fact that the current economic situation in the country may partly be entrusted to development, at present, the focus of citizens is on politics and the inevitable election campaign.
He nevertheless said that Amari-Supply Kano, a fertilizer mixing company and livestock producer, was fully involved in the agricultural exhibition.
“Most of the farmers who visited our booth did not buy many things, they all complained about the prevailing financial crisis,” he said.
Madame Helen Adik, an exhibitor from a herbal medicine from Kaduna State, said that the agricultural show this year was very low in terms of customer turnout compared with previous editions.
She argued that the organizers were unable to show a show of adequate publicity, saying that many people do not know about this event.
Another exhibitor, Mr. Badmus Abel, also blamed the low attendance of the current economic situation in the country.
He said that most of the people who attended the exhibition simply went there to shop in the windows to view the products presented.
Abel said that, in addition to the prevailing monetary crisis in the country, the organizers could not plan the program very well, adding that this had a negative effect on the show.
However, Malam Abdullahi, a producer of leather and leather from Kano, said that he was able to secure good contracts with some customers, adding that this somewhat alleviated his regrets about poor patronage.
“This fair was not widely publicized; I went all the way from Kano, and it was not on my own, because I did not sell a single product, because people complained bitterly about the lack of money, ”he said.
Ms. Justina Bendin, National Secretary of the African Initiative for Agriculture and Rural Development, noted that the annual participation of people in the fair is declining.
She said that this was because most of the companies and individuals who started the fair in 2016 stopped coming to the exhibition of their goods, although they were still in business.
She urged the organizers of the agricultural show to overestimate the planning of the fair and explore ways to attract more patronage.
Mr. Simon Alei, a Benue seed supplier, stressed the need for government intervention, fair housing and adequate security for participants.
He said that these requirements became imperative because of the huge amount of money that participants paid for hotel accommodation and the safety of their goods.
NAN's research showed that most of the exhibitors left the day after the official opening ceremony, and some left early on Friday, without waiting for the closing ceremony.
NAN found that small traders selling goods such as food, beverages, shoes and household goods are far superior to the main exhibitors. (NAN)