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Rimingado firewood market booms in Kano as price of cooking gas soars

Rimingado firewood market, popularly known as ‘’Yan Itace,’ is regarded as the largest market where firewood is sold in Kano State, as well as some…

Rimingado firewood market, popularly known as ‘’Yan Itace,’ is regarded as the largest market where firewood is sold in Kano State, as well as some neighbouring states. Despite the transformation in the means of cooking, such as the use of cooking gas and kerosene, the market is still booming and serving different people in different capacities, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.

 

From Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu & Sadiq Adamu, Kano

 

The unique market, which focuses on trading firewood of different kinds, provides means of living to thousands of people working under the various segments it has. This is aside from supplying the populace with firewood amidst the skyrocketing prices of gas and kerosene.

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Situated along the Gwarzo Road, linking to Katsina State in Rimingado Local Government Area of Kano, Yan Itace market heavily relies on trees gathered from bushes and farms located within Kano, Katsina, and some parts of Zamfara and Sokoto states. The market is said to generate more firewood during the dry season.

During a visit to the market by Daily Trust on Sunday, it was gathered that different types of firewood are sold and customers, including women and children, from different places, especially the city area, patronize them.

The market, according to some traders, has existed for over four decades and also remains the largest firewood selling hub in Kano. The marketers said they usually have more sales during the rainy season because firewood is scarce in the wet season as farms are mainly occupied with crops while the forests are also very bushy.

Speaking to our correspondents, Secretary of the market union, Sunusi Hamza Rimingado, said their customers come from Kano city to buy in large quantities. He said the market majorly operates twice a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they also come every day as some customers have no limit to the days they patronize them.

According to him, over 2,000 people work and earn a living from the large market. They include dealers, retailers, porters, rope tiers and those that cut the firewood into pieces, adding that there are also hundreds of small trucks and tricycles that often transport firewood to the city on a daily basis.

“For the past 30 years, we have been in this business and earning a living through it. I can tell you that over 2000 people are doing their businesses here. The number is an estimation; I’m sure we are more than that.

 

“The notable places we source firewood from are Katsina and Zamfara states because they have the largest forests, also from neighbouring villages of Kano,” he said.

Speaking on the trading aspect, a major dealer in the market, who doubles as the vice chairman of the market union, Danladi Dakare Kabo, said he goes into the forests and farms with his boys and vehicles, purchases the trees, cut them down and bring the firewood to the market.

According to him, being a major dealer, he does not sell directly to the end-users but to the small dealers in the market, who pay him after a week or two.

He said each tree has its price, depending on the type of tree and how strong it is. He said the prices range from N8,000 to N20,000 and that four to 10 trees are merged to form a single truckload which is usually sold at N50,000 to N70,000 depending on the size and variety of the trees.

“Every week, I sell 20 to 40 trucks, depending on the market. But during the dry season, we sell more than this because there is more firewood in the bush and it can be accessed easily. On the price, we buy a truckload at N40,000 to N50,000 and we sell it to the dealers at N50,000 to N70,000 and sometimes even N80,000. So, the price largely depends on the tree. The most expensive are Marke (African Birch), Tsamiya (Tamarind Tree), Darbejiya (Neam Tree) among others.

“I have about 35 employees on a weekly basis and all of them depend on the business. I built houses, married three wives and have 13 children through this business. This is what I know as a business and that is what I have been doing for over 30 years,” he said.

Another dealer, Dayyabu Lawan, who buys from the major dealers and sells to the retailers, said most of his customers are restaurant owners and bread bakers in the city, apart from those that purchase the firewood in bulk and sell to households. He said several people from the city buy from them and sell in pieces to residents who cannot afford gas and kerosene.

“We buy from the major dealers (like one small truck) after they get supply from the forests. We usually cut them into pieces and tie them into different sizes for selling. We have that of N1000, N500, and even N100.

“Most of my customers come from the city. Some people even say firewood performs better than gas and kerosene, with some arguing that food cooked with firewood is tastier,” he said.

The dealer added that people who have ceremonies and activities that require them to cook in large volumes also often patronize them to reduce spending on gas.

“During wedding ceremonies, Eid celebrations and other ceremonies, we make huge sales because people cannot cook large food with gas or kerosene,” he added.

Adamu Sule, a 50-year-old man in the market, said he had been in the business for the past 20 years. He acts mainly as a deal broker, having different kinds of customers, some call him on the phone and place an order for the number they want and he sends it to them and they send him his money.

Sule said due to the increment in the price of gas and kerosene, a lot of people have resorted to the use of firewood to ease hardship, which has thus resulted in higher demand for firewood.

Daily Trust on Sunday observed that another significant aspect of the market is how women are not left behind as they are fully engaged in the business and transport firewood to the city, thereby being financially independent and even supporting the family. They usually supply firewood to the city and sell to residents by arranging them in smaller pieces outside their houses.

A 65-year-old widow, Hajiya Salamatu Muhammed, said she has been in the business for 35 years and has gotten a lot through the business, adding that Rimingado market is where she purchases firewood.

“I sometimes go to the bush myself and buy the trees, bring them here (Rimingado) and sell, or take it home and sell to residents. If you go to my house, at the front gate, you will see firewood. That is how I sell, but every week I am here in the market,” she added.

Meanwhile, speaking on the situation of the market, one of the elders, Adamu Sule, 50, said the government allocated them a plot to continue with their business when they were chased away from their former place, but they still need temporary canopies so that they can continue with their businesses when it is raining.

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