As the nation prepares to join the rest of the world to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir tomorrow, major markets are jam-packed with rams with the sellers seeking buyers.
Our reporters in Abuja and Katsina went round some of the markets to interact with the dealers who saw the celebration as an opportunity to make good money through sales of their animals.
In Dutse, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, one of the dealers, Aliyu Ibrahim Danbaya, from Zamfara State, said all he could say was ‘Alhamdulillah’ (praise be to God) for the sales he recorded. He said he couldn’t help but to reveal how happy he was with the present administration and prayed that the economy continues to improve.
Ibrahim told our reporters that he brought a total of 25 rams to the market but only one ram was yet to be sold.
Danbaya said that the highest valued rams he sold at the market were bought at the prices of N300,000 and N270,000 respectively. Others were sold for between N250,000 and N30,000.
Another seller, Yahaya Mamman from Mai’adua Local Government Area of Katsina State also disclosed that the market was quite good, and they recorded large number of customers that came to buy their rams.
He also affirmed that this year’s sales were far better than last year’s because many people have come out of the recession that affected the country then.
Yahaya noted that some customers bought 10 rams or more rams at a time, while others bought five or less depending on their purchasing power.
However, Ali Musa, from Kaita LGA of Katsina State’s experience is quite different. The ram dealer who was noticeably sulking while speaking to our reporters revealed that this year’s sales have been bad for him.
Musa who says he had been in the market for a week lamented that the rams he bought for N70,000 are being priced between N60,000 and N55,000, while those he bought at N40,000 were being priced at N30,000.
He said the market was discouraging, pointing to the many rams that were still at the market with just two days to the ‘Eid el-Kabir’ otherwise known as ‘Babbar Sallah’.
A Chinese buyer at the market was seen by his Toyota Hilux van with his assistant loading a total of eight rams of different sizes into the vehicle. Other potential buyers were also seen moving around, scouting and pricing rams from different sellers.
Meanwhile, in Katsina State, markets remained filled with rams but with only few buyers in sight.
Malam Yusuf Lawal Funtua, a ram dealer in Sheme market who has spent over 20 years in the business, complained that they have not had such experience in the recent past.
“Rams this year are generally cheap, but the rural people are yet to have sufficient cash as harvest period has just started. We now rely on civil servants and other salary earners who may after receiving their August salary patronise our goods,” he said.
But, Alhaji Usman Aminu, a civil servant in the state said there is no guarantee that civil servants would buy rams as expected.
“The most hit by this high cost of living are civil servants who are on daily basis trying to figure out how they can basically feed their families. With this situation, only few of us can afford to slaughter rams this Sallah.”
He added that besides the economic constraints, this administration has successfully blocked the leakages of free money circulating among politicians and top civil servants hence the low patronage witnessed at rams markets in the state.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Funtua Animal Sales Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, Sama’ila Buhari Mai-rago, noted that ram merchants this year did not travel to Niger Republic to bring rams, which was why Sheme market was not full to capacity.
“When we realised that the prospects of ram business is dim this year, many of us used the available resource at our disposal and shifted to farming to diversify our sources of revenue,” said Sama’ila Buhari.
He added that the priority of an average Nigerian now is food, considering the sky rocketing cost of living that was biting hard in both urban and rural areas.
Our correspondent observed that the average rams in the market cost between N20,000 to N35,000, while the big ones cost between N40,000 and N70,000.
Similarly, the story of the cattle section of the market was almost the same, as it was scantily filled with the animals.
Alhaji Aminu Umar Sheme, the ‘Sarkin Shanu’ of the market stated that poor sales of cattle resulted to loading only 15 trucks of cattle to the southern markets as against the about 40 trucks that were loaded in the past three years.
“The business is low this year due to economic constraints; buyers are no longer flooding the market like before. This has also significantly affected the price of the cattle compared to the last three years,” said Alhaji Aminu.
He called on the state government to construct a cattle loading section in each of the state’s cattle markets. This, according to him, “would ease the loading process, cut down the high cost of loading the animals in trucks and provide revenue for the state.”