The current scarcity of onions and other vegetables and foodstuff usually ferried in from the northern part of the country to the south has been bemoaned by aggrieved residents of the areas where the scarcity persist.
Professor G.G. Sarah has responded with suggestions on the purported “Ban of Northern foodstuff to Rivers and Southern Nigeria” saying it is “welcome challenge.”
“What food items does the North sell to us that cannot be produced in abundance down South? Beans, rice, potato, yams, cassava, etc, grow well in the Niger Delta.”
“Ughwerun Kingdom of Urhobo leads in sweet potato for chips consumed in hotels, restaurants and food joints across Nigeria. Onions do well in northern/Ogoja area of Cross River. Our rain forests are fertile for peppers and diverse spices. All Niger Delta states are in the Plantain and banana belt; perhaps the biggest plantain market is the weekly one at Zarama in Bayelsa on the East-West Highway.”
“Thus our carbohydrate needs are met. As for protein, we can be self-sufficient. Niger Delta has the highest number of rivers and waterways in Africa.
According to the World Bank publication of 1995, there are about 250 fish species. In 2003, Gòv Ibori of Delta State took a delegation to Thailand and saw fishery and shrimp ponds that stretched for kilometres.
Asian agric experts visited Delta State in 2004 and used vehicles, canoes and helicopter to identify potential fishing havens from Tsekelewu near Ondo State boundary through Batere, Escravos, Forcados, Burutu, Odimodi, Agge/Aghoro, Bomadi, Patani, Umeh/Erhohwa, Asaba-Ase, Aboh, Onya Oko, Asaba and Ebu/Illah. The report they produced must be somewhere in Govt House, Asaba.”
“As for livestock we have adequate lands for breeding pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, ducks, turkey, pigeon, etc. Oil palm and raffia proliferate in the Niger Delta. In truth, what foods do Northern states transport to us that gives them the impudent voice to threaten a food embargo? Perhaps the difficulty we may have is that our Southern politicians are unwilling to think and apply strategy to transform our natural resource abundance to wealth and prosperity for the general good.
Let’s encourage the northern food cabals to carry out their threat to stop food supply. That is when our politicians will realise that the business of governance is more serious than winning elections and riding in imported luxury jeeps.”Professor Darah’s suggestions have generated mixed reactions from observers as many called for people to heed the call and stop being lazy to farm.
There seems to be no respite at the moment as the situation is still unclear as to when the foodstuff supplies will improve so that prices can come down drastically