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Inside the Maigatari cattle market

It takes great courage to walk through the popular Nigeria/Niger republic border cattle market of Maigatari town because of the inherent dangers involved. Movement through…

It takes great courage to walk through the popular Nigeria/Niger republic border cattle market of Maigatari town because of the inherent dangers involved. Movement through the market means passing by  hostile bulls. It is such a daring walk despite the company of  a guide, and it is a terrifying adventure for a person that is visiting the market for the first time.
The available passages for human movement within the market have since been taken over by several cattle stakes. Therefore, for one to move across the market a lot of caution must be exercised, otherwise the stern looking bulls could end up  causing  great havoc.
Maigatari International Cattle Market is one of the biggest cattle markets in the northern part of the country, because it supplies over 2 million stock of cattle for trading during  its weekly market day.
The ever busy Maigatari border cattle market in Maigatari Local Government Area of Jigawa state is approximately not more than 200 meters square in size. The market gets its supply from within Nigeria and the  neighbouring Niger republic, with stock thrice the capacity of the market start arriving two days ahead the market day.
The hustle and bustle of the cattle market may not be unconnected to its border location, which makes it possible to have all types of cattle breeds, hence the trooping of buyers from across the country and Niger republic.
The most unique feature of the market is the international status it is assuming by the  day, because apart from playing host to local cattle buyers that usually come from across the country,international buyers come from Niger republic.
Major dealers from both the south and northern part of the country buy cattle in large quantity from Maigatari for supply to markets in the south.
Maigatari cattle market supplies the southern part of the country about 100 trailers of cattle on weekly basis.

The cattle market usually get its supply locally from Nguru, Garin Alkali and Babban Gida in Yobe state, Danbatta in Kano state as well as from Mai-Adua in Kasina state, while Niger republic supplies from the towns of Dangas and Magayi.
There are licensed Nigerian cattle suppliers that travel to Niger republic on weekly basis to buy stocks in large quantity, for importing directly to the Maigatari border cattle market.
Majority of Nigerien cattle dealers supply cattle  to the market, and after disposing their stock, they buy  the Nigerian breed of female cattle, which they use for cross fertilization with their local breed.
About 250 other category of trucks are also used in transporting cattle purchased by butchers for local consumption in some of the northern states. However, majority of such butchers are from neigbouring Kano, Kaduna and Katsina states.
Speaking to Daily Trust, the chairman of Maigatari Market Cattle Dealers Association, Adamu Sallau Fulata, said business transactions of over half a billion naira take  place  every Thursday at the cattle market, as every single cow, irrespective of size has the potential of being bought and sold.
The volume of commercial transaction in the cattle market is usually determined by the number of cattle that exchanged ownership.
He pointed out that the uniqueness of business transactions in the cattle market, could be noticed in the fact that in just a market day, a single cow could go through a business transaction three to four times by the means of selling and buying.

Fulata explained that Maigatari Cattle market accommodates both the big and small buyers, as there are cattle of various sizes, depending on ones purchasing power. He said there are those that are sold for as low as N30,000, while a well fed bull would cost as much as N500,000.
He stressed that every Thursday about 100 trailers, each carrying 34 cattle leave Maigatari Cattle market for big cities like Lagos and Enugu, while about 250 trucks with each carrying 14 cows also supply some parts of the north.
The chairman of the cattle dealers lamented over the congestion of the market, saying the market is recording rapid expansion in term of supply and patronage, adding that at present the market accommodates  more than its capacity, hence the need for commensurate expansion.
“We have all categories of buyers, both the local and international buyers. Major buyers that patronize the market are from the south, followed by those from some parts of the north. Majority of them are butchers as well as some from Niger republic.
“Every week over 70 trailers with each carrying 34 well fed cows head to the south from Maigatari cattle market, while about 250 trucks each carrying 14 cows also leave the cattle market to supply other parts of the country.
“The market has since assumed international standard as business men from Niger republic patronize the market. They bring in cows  for sale and in return buy for supplying their country. Nigeriens buy female cows from the market for the purpose of cross breeding. According to them the Nigerian specie are healthier, and therefore give a better breed.
“Our biggest challenge at present is the fact that the cattle market of Maigatari is everyday becoming smaller, not as a result of encroachment but following an increase in both the influx of business men and cattle supply. As it is now, whoever wants  to access the market must be ready to take the risk of moving through hostile cows.Most of such cows were staked on passages meant for human movement.”

Patrick Hoama who is a cattle dealer said he has been into cattle business for about 20 years, adding that in the past he only buys and sells from the northerners that supplied them in the south, but with the help of some of such dealers he started coming to Maigatari for bulk purchase.
He stressed that on a market day he usually purchased cattle worth over N5 million, and that he participates in two market days each month, saying he supplies about three to four trailer  loads of cattle fortnightly to the south.
Hoama opined that more often than not, cattle  from Maigatari market are rated among the best stock, therefore the market is always ready made for him in the south.
“My northern cattle business partners encouraged me to start bulk supply from Maigatari. Maigatari cattle market does not run out of stock, once you have the money the cattle are always available. The supply in the market is always capable of giving the number of stock that one needs.”

A Nigerien cattle dealer who identified himself as Barmo told this reporter that he has been  into the cattle international business for the last 10 years, adding that as a result of the boom in Maigatari border cattle market, people from his  town of Dingash  have resorted to the business of fattening and cross breeding for better species that attract good prices.
Barmo said patronizing Maigatari cattle market is a ritual for him, because of its potentials of offering  good prices following the competitive nature of the market.

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