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Lack of amenities affecting business at Keffi cattle market – Traders

The traders told Daily Trust that since the market started about seven years ago, it has been operating without light even as high tension cables…

The traders told Daily Trust that since the market started about seven years ago, it has been operating without light even as high tension cables from the national grid are very close, adding that access roads, parking space and good shops for traders to do business comfortably are also not available.
Keffi International cattle market, the traders claimed is one of the largest in the country, saying between 2,000 to 3,000 cows are brought in every market day as two market days are operated every week.
According to one of the traders, Mohammed Musa Madugu, “The local government collects N100 as revenue for each of the cows brought to this market every market day, and the ram and goat sellers also pay N50 for each animal, while N50 is paid by each trader for space. You can now imagine how much money they are making from this market.
“They dissolved our Exco, set up a caretaker committee, dissolved that one again and set up new one when the leadership of the local government changed. We need an elected Exco made up of traders in the system not outsiders to effectively manage the market,” Madugu appealed.
Another trader, Malam Idris Jibrin who sells ram in the market, said the revenue collected by the government and other sources of fund should be properly used in developing the market as originally planned, urging the council to allow the traders to elect their leaders to run the affairs of the market.
A cattle dealer, Alhaji Saidu Abdul, adding his voice to the claims made by the traders, told our reporter that instead of providing the necessary amenities in the market, the local government was busy playing politics in installing caretaker committees.    
All the traders spoken to maintained that the market needed to be expanded in line with its development plan and provide a Police outpost and security among others, adding that the amenities available at the market presently is water from a borehole provided by Senator Abdullahi Adamu and a local abattoir constructed by the local government.  
They, however, disclosed that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) project has allocated a modern abattoir to the market but yet to be constructed.
Daily Trust spoke with Alhaji Ibrahim Sarkin Zango, representing Keffi Royal House in the market, who agreed that they were aware of the challenges facing the market.
He maintained that implementation of the market development plan is the responsibility of the government, but the Royal House has played supportive roles in resolving all disputes so as to ensure that the market stands the test of time.
Secretary, Caretaker Committee of the market, Yakubu Yahaya, representing Keffi local government in the market, confirmed the amount of money being collected as revenue from traders and said the local council is working hard to implement the market development plan.
“The previous Exco was dissolved and caretaker committee set up due to some financial problems, but all issues have been resolved awaiting new Exco to come on board very soon.
“Keffi Local government is the leader in this market, and the Emir of Keffi and the Hardo Fulani give maximum support to the market. Most of the things you see in this market are temporary. But expansion plan is in place and we have made proposal to Keffi Local Government Chairman who is ready to implement very soon,” he said.
The Caretaker Committee Secretary disclosed that light, roads, parking space, police station and bank among others will be provided to give the market a befitting status.
But the Acting National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Aminu Goronyo said though the present administration has done a lot and spent so much to enhance agricultural production; Nigeria is far from attaining self-sufficiency in food production.
Alhaji Goronyo said the country is far from producing enough rice to meet our local requirement and cannot therefore attain the status of exporting rice even within the next three years.
“Let me give you example with Sokoto state which is one of the major rice producing states in this country. Sokoto has about 428,000 hectares of arable land but we are utilizing less than 20,000 hectares. The rest are not utilized.
“We do not have real rice farmers in this country. Most of the rice farmers in this country are cultivating less than 10 hectares from where they harvest about 10 bags. Out of that, he will sell five and take five bags to his house. Is that how we are going to enhance production?
“There are so many things that are militating against enhancement of rice production in this country that government is doing nothing to resolve. We do not have markets to sell our produce. There are no companies to buy the rice. No rice farmer in this country is linked to any country that is willing to buy rice from Nigeria. So, if you produce large quantity of rice in Nigeria, where will you take it to and sell?
“Which standard commercial mill are we going to process our rice to compete with the ones in the international market? The rice seed government is giving to rice farmers in Nigeria is not meant for commercial production. The yield is very low. Government is not ready for production of rice for commercial purposes yet,” he said.

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