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Inside Hadejia’s booming frog market with supply chain to Southern Nigeria

Frog hunting and marketing is a relatively new business for residents of Hadejia compared to other businesses the town is renowned for. The consumption of…

Frog hunting and marketing is a relatively new business for residents of Hadejia compared to other businesses the town is renowned for. The consumption of frong has also never been part of the people’s diet in the area, due to cultural beliefs about the aquatic animals and the availability of fish and livestock in the region.

The African clawed frogs  are said to be predominant in waters across the country and found in large numbers in waters surrounding Hadejia and also in many rice farms.

Historically, the earliest attempt to introduce frog farming to the state was during the administration of Governor Saminu Turaki (1999-2007) under the state government’s Millennium Village project but the attempt did not succeed as expected due to cultural beliefs of the people.

However, since then, inter-state commodity trading has seen traders, from North-central states like Benue and Southern states like Enugu, Bayelsa and Abia amongst others, who come to Hadejia to sell their wares and also buy goods like rice and smoked fish from the town, tilt towards trading in frogs.

It was gathered that the Tivs of Benue State, who are among the major patronisers of Hadejia fish market, were responsible for the discovery and boom of the frog business.

“After the Tiv traders, who bring their yam to Hadejia and then buy smoked fish from Hadejia became familiar with our area; they discovered the availability and abundance of frogs in the area. They also discovered that the frogs in Hadejia were the type needed in their local markets and that it has a big market in their area.

“With the continuous growth of the fish market, more people were coming to Hadejia and also noticing the abundance of edible frogs in the area. Those interested in the early stages start hunting for the frogs, smoking them, like we smoke fish and then taking them back with them to their areas.

“Naturally, residents of Hadejia took interest in this and started hunting for and selling them to the increasing number of traders demanding for them alongside smoked fish.

“So, you can say people from Benue and other southern parts of the country pointed the attention of Hadejia people to the business opportunity in the abundance of frogs in the area and people are now making a fortune out of it,” a resident and trader in the market, Abubakar Tahir, narrated.

Daily Trust on Sunday observed that frogs are also prepared through a smoking system like smoked fish, where as many as 50 frogs are pieced together on a stick before smoking them.

While other known frog markets across the country depend mostly on supply from other states and neighbouring countries, the frog market in Hadejia gets its supply from the aquatic areas of the town and neighbouring towns like Auyo and Guri.

It was further gathered that since the frog market started, it has grown into a multi-million Naira business where millions exchange hands between buyers and sellers every week.

This development, it was further gathered has encouraged more youths to take it up as a source of livelihood through hunting where some migrate and staying for months in the neighbouring villages where there is an abundance of frogs; while others are also engaged in the process of its preservation (smoking) while some market the smoked frog.

Bango Gawuna, a major trader in the frog market, said his major supply is to the eastern part of the country.

Each stick of smoked frog, according to him costs between N1500 and N3000, depending on the size and quantity.

“Most of my customers are from Benue, Enugu, Onitsha and Bayelsa, among others, who come down to Hadejia purposely because of the frogs,” he said. Gawwuna, however added that the market has been generating revenue for the government but has not received much support from the government.

“We buy receipts of N1000 each for every vehicle before they are allowed to load the goods and leave the market,” he said.

Another frog seller, Moses Classic, who though not from Hadejia but has made the town his home because of the business, said the business is quite rewarding for the traders and even the government but that the challenge has been lack of a conducive environment for the business.

“It is during the rainy season like now that we suffer the most, as customers will bring their goods but we will not be able to buy and keep them because the environment is not conducive,” he said. He called on the state government to provide a permanent market for the frog business.

Michael Ajje, another non-indigene who has made the town his home because of the frog market, reiterated that the business is good and also corroborated his colleague’s assertion that “the problem is that the market is open and there is no shop or store to keep our frogs.”

The chairman of the market, Idu Godwin, said despite the booming business activities in the market, the lack of a permanent site for the market may soon render thousands of people jobless, noting that the owner of the piece of land that has been serving hitherto as the marketplace has indicated intention of developing the land.

“As you can see, the market is not structured. It is by the roadside and the space is not enough for the increasing number of traders frequenting the market every Sunday. Aside from what the individual traders make, we generate at least N40,000 in loading money alone for the government as each truck that loads the frogs for onward movement to the southern part of the country pays N10,000 and sometimes we load more than four trucks,” he said.

He called on the government to provide a permanent place for them to run their business.

A resident of Hadejia and social commentator, Ahmed Ilallah, said if the government takes proper stock of the business activities going on in the market and makes a little investment, it will be a great opportunity for the state economically.

“If you look at how the business is growing in recent years, this business has created employment for thousands of our youth, it created a business link between us and the southern and north central of the country, interchange of commodities like the Tiv people who bring yams, palm oils and other commodities and then buy frogs to go and sell to their people,” he said.

Commenting, the chairman of Hadejia Local Government Area, Umar Abdulkadir, admitted that the LG has been generating revenue from the market ranging between N40,000 and N70,000 per week and “that is why the local government will provide a permanent site for the market.”

In an earlier interview, Sarah Abagi, a dietician, had told Daily Trust on Sunday that some people were just waking up to the consumption of frogs but it has always been there. She said frogs were a very good source of protein, and like any other animal, it also contains minerals that are good for the body.

She said frogs could easily be differentiated from toads through their smooth skins and long legs, adding that toads are not edible.

“Toad is not edible because it contains venom, which is harmful to the body. The skin is rough, and they are found on the land, unlike frogs, which natural habitat is water,” she said.


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