By Ushang Ewa
Sellers of vegetables in Calabar the capital city of Cross River State are now optimistic of a brighter year following continuous downpours after a prolonged dry season.
Findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal that most sellers who rely on rainfall to water their crops rued their choice of business when the rains set in late this year, with several describing it as an anomaly.
“The rains came in late this year and I had to stop farming for a while because I could not keep up with watering the crops every dawn and dusk which to me is abnormal as it usually rains in the second week of January” says Mma Makamba who spoke in pidgin and owns a waterleaf plantation in UNICAL staff quarters.
For Eka (mother of Etete) whose pumpkin and waterleaf plantation is located along New Airport road in Calabar South, “I am happy it is now raining because it was a hectic job watering the plants during this prolonged dry season which I don’t remember experiencing before. Some of my colleagues whose kids are stubborn or do not want to help even stopped farming but now I think things will be better.”
Further findings revealed the price of the vegetables did not change but the size did, with some buyers hoping the coming of the rains will translate into bigger sizes of vegetables for the regular price range of 50 Naira for waterleaf and between 50 and 200 Naira for pumpkin.
“I was used to 200 Naira worth of water leaf to prepare soup but between December and February, I needed between 300 and 400 Naira worth of it to prepare the same quantity of soup” says Theresa Ugbe a secondary school teacher while purchasing pumpkin at the Marian market in Calabar municipal local government area.
Another buyer who gave her name as Margaret, a student of Cross River University of Technology also agreed that the sellers will experience better yield now even as she hopes the rainfall will mean better quantity of vegetables.
“I know most of them rely on the rains and it has its adverse effect as was noticed by all these past three months when the yield was low and the sizes reduced which was bad for those of us who are vegetarians (laughs) but with the rains, the yield will improve and we will get better deals (laughs again).”
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