How Kano people live in Karfi onion market

Karfi Onion Market, located in Karfi Town in Kura Local Government Area of ​​Kano State, is said to be one of the largest markets supplying onions to the south of the country and neighboring states.

The market also serves as a place where people from Kano and neighboring states buy onions, whether for marketing or consumption.

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The market, which has been around for more than four decades, remains a hub for onion growers, especially the southern part of Kano, where onions are grown in bulk. From the market, the onions are processed, bagged and transported to buyers.

From the movement of onions from farms to market, hundreds of people, including men and women, children and young people, find a way to live from the series of processes it undergoes, providing job opportunities in various segments.

Some of those who appreciate the opportunities are dealers who often supply other parts of the country, whole sellers and retailers.

Other survivors of the market include the carriers, porters and maidens who earn their living from the remnants of shops and farms, as well as those who peddle by the roadside.

Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday, one of the dealers in the market, Sulaiman Idris, 38, said he had been in the business for nearly two decades now. He started as a porter in the market and later became a merchant, supplying onions to almost all parts of the country.

He said he joined the market with zero capital but now has more than 2 million naira in capital, adding that people are also giving him their money from other sides to buy onions from them, which added to his capital.

“I remember when I first came here just to get changed. But look where we are now. I came back from the South yesterday. I went there to deliver onions to dealers there. I just supply a trailer now, but when it’s the season I can supply up to 10 trucks.

“As you know the market is dominated by the natives of this place because we all grew up to see it in our surroundings. Ninety percent of our population survives on the market. It’s not onion season, but every day we send more than 5,000 bags south. In addition, our customers from the city and elsewhere come to buy in large quantities,” he said.

He said that during the season, they load 30 to 50 trailers a day, apart from small trucks, J5s and other vehicles that transport onions to different places.

Mallam Umar Manya, a farmer who switched to selling onions in the market, told our correspondent that the consistency of the market and the daily demand for onions forced him to abandon his farming activities and venture into the business full time.

According to him, with the company, he can now feed his family, relatives and sponsor his children in school.

“I used to be a full-time farmer, but now I do it part-time because of the onion business. This market has replaced my farm for over 10 years now. This is where I survive. I left the farm for my children to learn the process too,” he said.

Manya also said that he sells 10 to 20 bags of onions every day during the season, adding that the commodity is not yet very present in the market; he therefore sells two to five bags a day. He also said the business depends on customer demand, as he can sell up to 100 bags if demand is high.

Traders further explained the reason why onion prices rise in certain periods and what can be done to control the situation.

One of the market leaders, Jibrin Iliyasa, said storage facilities that are not available to them have led to losses, especially on the producer side. He said that whenever it was onion season, they would sell at a cheaper price to avoid losses as they might rot.

“If we had modern storage facilities, we could store for up to a year and the price could be controlled. But if we have to sell everything that was grown in one season, then it will be scarce during a time like this and the price has to go up. Even now it’s high because we don’t have it here; we have to travel to places like Gombe and others to get it. The new variety is sold at 38,000 Naira while the old one is at 43,000 Naira per bag,” he said.

He said the market usually boomed from January to August and onions are always supplied during the non-stop period as this is the peak period of his harvest.

Those in menial jobs in the market also told Daily Trust on Sunday that the business was a means of survival for them, adding that they hoped to become dealers in the future.

“I can generate up to 5,000 naira in a day whenever the market is booming. But in situations like this, I can get N1,000 or sometimes N2,000; and I thank God for that. I believe that one day I will become one of those who sell onions here because I am still learning the process,” said a porter, Habibu Lawan.

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