By Husaini Najib
Garki Monday Market, a popular economic centre, located within a highly populated settlement of indigenous Gbagyi people, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC),of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has ample of non-indigenous settlers, who are attracted to the area due to economic activities booming in the area, for their daily bread.
It was observed that most inhabitants in Garki village do not concerned themselves with other activities outside the market, but only focused more on how to get what they need to carter for themselves and families within and outside the FCT.
But, ahead of this year’s Christmas and New Year festivities, most of the traders in the market are already lamenting over low patronage at the place.
A trader, Usman Baba, who sells potatoes at the market, while narrating how he runs his business at market, said that he frequents Miyango, Langtan, Bokos, Mangu and all other parts of Plateau state to buy the potatoes, every Sunday of the week.
Usman said he buys 15 to 20 bags of potatoes every week, which he sells to his customers who are coming from different parts of Abuja city.
He disclosed that prior to the yuletide season, he used to buy potatoes at cost oftwenty-two thousand naira (N22, 000) per bag, but now he gets the same quantity for thirty-four thousand naira (N34,000).
Attributing the increased in the price of the potatoes to the coming of Christmas and new Year season, hehowever decried that there is low patronage by residents in Abuja, as they are complaining that his goods is too expensive.
He noted that most of his customers seem to have travelled to their various villages outside FCT to celebrate this year’sChristmas and those in the town are lamenting that they are not being paid salaries.
“No matter how had I try to convince customers to buy my potatoes, they will be complaining that it’s expensive, not knowing that we are not the cause, because the cost is being determined from the root (the place where him and his colleagues get their supplies from).
“And some of them would they don’t have money, but the government or private employers should pay them, so that we too can enjoy the season with them,” he stressed.
Furthermore, Usman said because of the high cost of potatoes and its attendant low customer patronage,many dealers of the commodity record more wastage than before.
Another trader, selling fruits inside the market, Ali Ibrahim, who said he buys watermelon, pineapple, Orange and Apple at the Zuba Fruits market, explained that 50 pieces of watermelon are sold between the rate of seventeen thousand naira (N17,000) and nine thousand naira (N9,000), depending on their sizes.
According to him, sometimes he makesprofit of five thousand naira (N5,000) from 50 pieces he usually bought from the Zuba Fruit market.
Explaining further, he says, ” I cutthe melons into many slices, which I sell for hundred naira (N100) each, but if its complete the profitis N2,000 and sometimes its N1,500.
He however noted that he always in cur loss from rotten melons hidden inside a bulk of the commodity or when offloading them from the trucks, with some being broken into pieces.
For instance, he said if hebuys 50 watermelon and five get damaged in the process he would be praying against losinghis capital, instead of expecting much profit or income.
Interestingly, he lamented that once they buy these fruits, there is no refund afterwards, because they often make proverb in hausa that [Gwaribakudiba se an saida] meaning (you can’t predict on fruits until you sell it).
However, Ibrahim, said that it is through his business that he is feeding himself and help others- like his parent and friends meet their needs.
For, one Ibe Frank, selling foodstuff, who also narrated how is going about his business in the market without any hindrance, and is being able to not only feed himself but fend for his family and relations within and outside Abuja.
He saidhe has many customers coming from different places to buy from him because he is like a dealer, who sells things at a cheaper price not minding the little income he is getting.
“All I want is to get little, and satisfy the needs of my customers, by so this mindset my business is more profitable than those selling at higher prices.
“For instance, if daily I sold say may be 50 bags of rice at the rate of eight thousand-five hundred naira (N8,500)each while others sell theirs for eight thousand-six hundred naira (N8,600), and sell only five bags a day, if you calculate myprofit or income it would be far more than theirs own.
“That’s why I’m well satisfied with the little gain am getting in order to help other human beings get what they want,” he expressed.
He however bemoans the attitudes of many of his customers that bought goods from him on credit,but refused to pay him,citing the coming of the charismas and New Year season.
Not left out, another trader selling tomatoes at the market, who simply gave his name as Monday, while narrating how he is doing his business, said that tomatoes are still cheap, because one big basket goes for just five thousand naira (N5,000) unlike previous festive seasons.
He said he is selling small basket at the rate of N500 to N400, which wassold between N1,500 and N2,000 hitherto now.
According to him, only onions have become very expensive, as it even disappearing from the market.
He said they are selling a bag (sugar sack) of onionsfor seventeen thousand naira (N17,000).
“That is why we can’t buy many onions and bring them to the market here, as customers will not accept to pay its highly exorbitant price, and if you look around the market and even other markets in the FCT, you will see that the commodity has become scarce, ” he said.