Creek Town: Calabar’s food basket | Dailytrust

Creek Town: Calabar’s food basket

A market scene

Creek Town is an historic, agrarian community in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The town is a former hub of slave trade in West Africa.  It takes less than 30 minutes on speedboat from the state capital, Calabar, to arrive in the community.

The community is host to colonial relics and archaic artifacts. It is also called the cradle of black civilisation and the bastion of the Efiks.

It boasts of the famous river  from where the state derived its name.

Creek Town is home to many communities, which are known in the local parlance as Obio Inwang, meaning farming settlements.

These communities are very important to Calabar residents because they serve as their main source of food supplies.

As many as 20 or so speedboats and canoes usually arrive daily from Creek Town with bags of raw or processed cassava clay, which is yet to be fried into garri.

They also come with assorted nuts, fruits and vegetables, such as the popular Afang, Editang and pumpkin leaves,  etc.  Tubers of native yam, cocoyam, plantains, bananas, other economic crops  and fish are also some other food items that come into Calabar by boats.

The major market day is Thursday when these foods would arrive the Esuk Obio Oko in Calabar in larger commercial quantities from Creek Town.

The women who dominate the market usually arrive the previous nights to enable them take advantaged positions where customers would quickly patronise them.

Calabar residents, restaurant owners, large-scale buyers and housewives would also arrive Esuk Obio Oko early in the morning to buy for the week.  Surprisingly, these foods are sold cheaply.

A 73-year-old Madam Nkoyo Archibong Ene from Ikot Esu, near Creek Town, one of the market women who bring in garri to the market, said things were cheap at the market.

She lamented that after paying for everything from land clearing to cassava processing, they were paid N3,000 for a bag of fufu.

Chief Eyo Okon Nsa, one of the leaders of the speedboats and canoe drivers association, said he ran a shuttle service  between Creek Town and Calabar up to 10 times a day, bringing foods and passengers.

“In Creek Town we don’t lack food because we farm and fish. They are our major occupations. We export food to Calabar,” he said.

One of the natives of Creek Town who lives in Calabar, Bishop Mesembe Edet, said he regularly travelled to his community where he has large farms to get foodstuff.

“God has helped me so much in this aspect. I do not buy foods, rather, I travel often to get foodstuff from my farms in my community.

“Many in Calabar do the same.  This has cushioned effects of high cost of food in the township,” he said

The state government said it had plans to ease the difficulties the residents suffer in farming.