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Sallah: Ram traders decry low sales amidst high prices, insecurity

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As the countdown to Sallah festivities narrows, ram sellers across the country are currently grappling with a disturbing trend of low patronage.

Their voices showed frustration and worry as they attributed the slow patronage to a combination of economic challenges, spate of insecurity, and transportation costs for the animals sourced from northern Nigeria.

The PUNCH reports that some ram sellers in Ogun, Lagos, Gombe, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Sokoto states, observed the high prices of the rams ahead of the forthcoming Sallah celebration.

A cattle trader, who spoke with Sunday PUNCH at Ibafo, Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area, Ogun State, Ibrahim Yusuf, explained that a big ram was sold between N500,000 and N700,000 with the least sold for N250,000.

Yusuf said, “Rams are so costly this year and the reason for it is the insecurity in the North. We no longer get rams there anymore. We have to travel to Mali most of the time to get the rams and the money we spend in that process is contributing to the huge prices”.

In Arepo, also in Ogun State, another trader who identified himself only as Muhammed said, “The effects of the activities of insurgents, banditry among others contributed to the surge in the prices of the rams as the supplies from the region had gradually reduced.

“The profits we make now are meagre compared to the amount we always spend on getting the rams here from Mali. Rams are very expensive this year and they are between N300,000, N650,000, depending on the size”.

Another seller in the Ijaiye area of Lagos, who refused to give his name, said, “Prices of ram are high now. You know what is happening in the country these days. The smallest ram here now is N300,000.

“Though if you have N200,000, I can still find one for you, generally, in this place, we have rams of N400,000, N600,000 and N800,000. It is not our fault. The cost of transporting the rams to Lagos is another thing, but there is nothing we can do about that”.

In Gombe State at Tike market in Pantami, a seller, Dan Garba, said, “Now, we have N800,000 ram, but last year, we sold the same size between N350,000 to N450,000. The cheapest ram here is N150,000 only. It’s not our fault; that (N150,000 ram) was the ram we sold for N75,000 last year”.

Another trader, Sultan Abubakar, stated, “Customers are not coming to buy. If customers don’t come, how am I going to take care of my family? I can’t sell below cost price. I will not realise my money”.

Similarly, in Kasuwar Shanu, Bauchi State, Olaniyi Musa, who said he bought and distributed rams to southern states (Oyo, Ogun, Ibadan, and Osun), claimed that the inflation in the country also affected animal prices.

Olaniyi maintained that the turnout of buyers this year was very low.

He said, “Compared to last festival season, the price of animals has skyrocketed. The inflation rate and shortage of rain have a significant impacted on the prices of the animals. Last year, we bought the animal at the lowest price of N40,000 to N45,000 while this year the lowest price is N100,000”.

On his part, the Treasurer of the Association of Buyers of Animals and Animals Feeds, Bauchi chapter, Zakariya Mato said rams were selling at the prices of N400,000, N300,000, N200,000 and N100,000.

He said, “There was a reasonable increase in the price compared to 2023 as the prices of animal feeds were also affected by inflation. The low turnout of buyers is not unconnected with the traditions in Bauchi State that the buyers arrive at the market two to three days before Sallah to buy the animal to avoid theft at home”.

In the same vein, Dahiru Garba who is also a cattle seller in the Bauchi market said, “Last year by this time my customers from Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and other northern states were calling me on the phone to send animals to them”.

Buyers bemoaned the increased cost of the rams.

One of the buyers, Hassan Ismail, said that a medium-size ram that was sold for about N70,000 last year was now between N110,000 and N120,000.

He said, “It is disheartening that the price of these essential items is getting this high daily, how can an ordinary man celebrate this Sallah with this situation of things for God’s sake? I don’t think I will buy any Ram”.

Another buyer, Shamsudeen Ibrahim, said, “I have already made up my mind not to buy anything this year. I cannot kill myself or where do I have close to N200,000 to buy Ram this year? I will explain to my children and I am sure they will understand as times go this year”.

Also speaking, Abubakar Salami, who sells cattle in the market, said the market situation this year was bad when compared with what it was last year.

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