In a place such as Sokoto State, where onion production is an essential livelihood for many northwestern Nigerians, COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on the local industry. Instead of strong post-production sales and pricing, onion producers are witnessing considerable price drops.
Currently one 120kg bag of onions which used to sell for around 8000 NGN (20 USD), now sells for only 4000 NGN (10 USD). The reason for this 50% drop has been attributed to the impact of the pandemic, particularly the restriction of movement of people and goods, outside the state. Although there are exceptions for trucks transporting essential products such as food and medicine, several roadblocks have been set up along highways by security officers. In addition to the huge increase in roadblocks across the country, road harassment has also discouraged many truck drivers.
Unfortunately, most of the trucks carrying onions from Sokoto to markets of southern Nigeria come mainly from Ibadan, Lagos, Onitsha and Portharcourt, which are all remote areas. Now trucks are parked in their garages or only travel short distances. As a result, the decline in the number of trucks to transport onion from Sokoto to other localities led to the fall of onion prices in Sokoto.