Walk with me: Three of the prominent markets in Kaduna, Nigeria.

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16 Jun 2024
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My business started with a one star product, which is Yam. In 2019, mom had left her teaching job because it was plainly not worth it. Teachers may be valued in other parts of the world, but not over here where education is more of a fraud than anything. I am one of those idiots who also think it is nothing but fraud. I spend hundreds of thousands for a degree for nothing to happen after. I digress…

The Beginning…


After mom left teaching, she came up with the idea of frying Bean Cakes popularly known as Akara or Kosei over here in Nigeria. The hunt for a good space took weeks and we eventually tried out some places that failed in being strategically located. However, ending 2019, I had just sat for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to leave secondary school with my certificate when Mom got help for a friend and we were able to find a more suitable place for the business.

It was under the open skies and close to a community gate so, we had to make an umbrella. The place was good for business and soon, we were also frying plantains, yam, and potatoes and even cooking some rice to go with it. I did not stay long with her though as I got a job with a gym close by and thought it would be perfect for bringing in extra cash… who thought my boss would be an ultimate asshole?


It has been years since then. Mom and I faced huge challenges with a man who was building on that land and he asked us to move. Mom and I left without raising alarm because we are only two women and it is very easy to take advantage of that in this country. I cannot count how many times we have fallen prey to people who have more connection or power than we do. Mom began frying by the road side close to where we stayed until we moved last year and got a shop of our own. All this is a little detailing as to how far my mom and I have come in what I would term a man’s world with no man in the picture. Not that I am glorifying it, rather, I am shoving my middle finger up society’s nose with all its useless rules and dynamics. Still, I digress.

The Present…


The reason for this post is to show you some of the prominent markets I have visited in my quest for Yam. I deal with food and Yam was always in heavy demand. Still is, just that it is now quite expensive. I gave Mom the idea of Golden Yam when we had just started in the new place. Like the speed of light, it would sell out before mid-day and we went from selling one tuber of yam daily to five. Our customer reach grew sporadically thanks to social media and I was handling the services while mom took over the kitchen. Now, we have temporarily taken yam off the menu for reasons being they are freaking expensive.


I stay in the North of Nigeria, Kaduna state to be precise. The most popular markets here are Monday, Central and Sabo market. For us into the business of food, the Friday, Sunday, and Monday markets are the most popular. I visited these markets while looking for Yam and thought, ‘Hell, why not write about it?’


The Friday market situated in Maraban Rido, Chikun L.G.A, Kaduna, leads from Sabo (Sabon Tasha) Kaduna state, a district from where I stay. I was in the Keke (tricycle) the whole time taking pictures. Until now, I had never been to that part of Sabo before. I currently stay in Sabo, Angwan Pama or Ungwan Pama, and I knew mainly of the market within.


I noticed that some roads had just finished undergoing construction. I am not good with holding names of things but I believe this is a bridge? Or flyover? Whatever it is… the road was constructed under it. The road spans miles and you see…




Can you see the joggers? Early morning run…

How about now? Yeah. I do too. One thing made my jaw drop.

This…


I had no idea there was an Indomie factory in Kaduna. I always thought it was brought in from neighboring states, which made it quite expensive. I knew it was an Indomie factory by the time the Keke rounded to the front of the building, still traveling the way towards Maraba.


To those who do not know, Indomie is the biggest and most popular noodle brand in Nigeria. I am a Cherie fan as they give soup flavours, but Indomie is the most sought after. Sometime ago, a carton of Indomie noodles was referred to as ‘gold’ because the prices spiked so high, it was no longer affordable. Right now, the prices have dropped. Which is good but I am still a Cherie fan.

Cutting Losses


Finally, we got to Maraba Morning market. The trike rider called it the New Market. He explained that one has been existing long before and is still in function. Maraba is a village that has been vulnerable to bandit and kidnap attacks. It is still underdeveloped which makes getting land there cheap right now. Goes for as little as N300,000 ($197.11). I have my eyes on it in terms of land purchase. It seems unsafe now but the Ex-Governor had his estate built somewhere around there which means that security would come soon. This was how it happened with U/Pama (where I stay) and U/Maigero. They were underdeveloped with lands selling as low as N100,000 ($63.84) but now, the least you can get a plot of land would be N7,000,000 ($4, 468.67).

So, I believe in the predictions that once the security of Maraba is sorted, it would become habitable and very profitable.




The market was not as large as I had imagined. They sold all kinds of things from grains to pesticides. Packaged foods, fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, oil, and tuber crops…


What was even more disappointing than the market size was the size of the yams. Fluffs were like sweet potatoes. Tiny! In addition, sold at alarming prices. After mom and I asked around, we decided to take advice and go to Monday Market. From the knowledge I have, Monday operates in wholesales unlike the Friday market that still gives retail.


We were supposed to go home and rest but come Sunday morning, Mom said we should go explore the Sunday Morning Market famously called Television Market. She told me it is popular for its sales of Yams and other Tuber crops. I had my doubts though.

From what Mom told me, I imagined they only sold yams, potatoes, cassava and nothing else… so Imagine my surprise…




It was much more colorful, vibrant and populous than I expected. There were fresh vegetables and some of the most common Nigerian grown foods. Someone had mentioned that 40% of people who brought goods to sell in the Television market owned their own farms. I do not know how true that is.




To find the ‘Yam market’ within the market, we had to ask around. We were directed to taking a turn towards the main road. Lo and behold, it was a city of yams. However, I could tell right away that we would not get a good price. Why? See.


Once yams are dropped over this way, they are not going for wholesale. You are buying retail price so I told my mom we should just cut our losses and go home. But mom was optimistic. While she checked out one stall, I moved to another that looked like they gave wholesale…


…until the seller opened his mouth ‘waaaaaaaah’ and rubbish flowed out of it. My blood still boils when I think of his big head overflowing with nonsense…


So, we left to be greeted on the road by little birdies Google Image revealed as Village Weaver (ploceus cucullatus). We stopped for some mangos and headed home to prepare for Monday Market which was the next day.

THE LOCAL SUPERMARKET



Monday Market is jammed! What the fluff! They open at 6am on Mondays when the people from various villages come in to sell off their produce. Unlike the other markets that have little of everything, Monday is a local supermarket with everything you could want!



Situated in-between Kakuri and the rail station (on the road towards the central market), Monday market is quite large and I have gotten lost once as a child visiting that place. A scary experience. There are alleys, shortcuts, and areas of residence. It is a town of its own.









Brimming with life and people, Monday sells it all. Underwear, kitchenware, grains, vegetables, poultry, seafood, toys, footwear’s, meat and many more.

A true shoppers promise…



Then we have what I will call the Citadel of Yams.


Over here, you can see the difference in presentation, referred to, as ‘casa’, Northern language (Hausa). They have set it all in ‘coreas’ and halves for whichever the buyer is after. If you cannot afford a full corea (100 tubers), you can pick the amount you want and pay for it. I went for a quarter, which is 25 tubers, and blown away at how much I had to pay for it. Thank God, for good friends who came through at desperate times.


Overall, Monday market is the right place to visit to experience the full extent of Nigerian lifestyle. The locals. The air. The food. The life… I was tired and mentally stressed after everything but it was all worth it!

Conclusion


Now that the season of Yam is gone though, I have learned a lesson when it comes to my business. Many lessons actually and one of them has turned into a dream. I will get my own land and farm my own Yam. I think it is the best way to turn losses into more profit. Do not ask me how because I do not know. All I need to know is that I always get it done.

All images are mine. This post originally belongs to me and can also be found published on my Hive account.

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