By Garba M. Muhammad

Kudah Village Market, located at Sabon Sarki District in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, by history and legend, is known to be the first Ginger Market in Nigeria.  This commercial birthplace and hub of the Southern Kaduna spices, which is a weekly market, cannot boast of any modern edifice to showcase its historical antecedents. This market, which gave birth to all the other Ginger markets and the Ginger business in the country as well, has indeed suffered neglects in all ramifications as all features of this market, which holds every Saturday, look bleak.

Being the first place where Ginger was sold about 50 years ago, the expectations are that this place should have been a heritage site with historical artefacts. Alas, what the market has at the moment is a story of an abandoned baby, with noting to write home about. The place Mr. Paul Yawah, head of the market, calls his office, is a shabby mud room roofed with old corrugated sheets.

“We don’t have the exact history of this market, but it has been in existence for over 50 years,” Yawah, whom his subjects address as ‘Sarkin Kasuwa’ told GREEN MONITOR.

A ginger trader by name Kano Philip, asserts that the age long market dated back to more than 50 years ago. “If I am to talk about how old is this market, then I would say that it’s older than me,” according to 51-years old Kano Philip, a Ginger trader in the community market.

He noted that the market houses people from all walks of life saying that people from all and sundry come to do business in the market. “This market is for everyone. Jaba, Fulani and Hausa people come together here to buy and sell stocks. Even if you are from London or any part of the world, you can come here for business”.  Kano Philip, who is also the Chairman of the Association of Ginger traders in the market, added that, “people from remote villages around Kachia and places as far as Maiduguri do come to the market majorly to buy Ginger”.

GREEN MONITOR observes that the market was scanty, which the traders attributed to rainy season. They said most of the locals are traders and farmers. Due to the season, a number of them have channeled their energy and resources to the farm.

“During dry season if you come to this place, it is a beehive of activities. You will find it crowded,” another member of the market committee said.

Taking a glance at the market, one cannot help noticing the obvious neglect of the market. Whoever is to be blamed, this market has grossly been neglected. Most trader lament absence of government presence in the market. According to one Philip, “We don’t have security operatives sent by the government here. What we have here are the Vigilante volunteers who come here on market days”, he added that, “We don’t have modern stalls. When rain comes that is how it will get wet. We don’t have shops and stores”.

Ironically, the locals alleged that all the revenue that is being generated from the Kachia Local Government Area comes from the Kudah Market. It was adduced that on every market day, not fewer than 8 to 10 ginger-laden trucks are sold in the market. To make matters worse, these traders, at different points in time fell under the burden of taxpayers harrassement to pay taxes whereas government is paying nonchalant attitude towards this trade hub.

Buoyed up by their desire for improvements, the locals do not seem to relent in their effort to see the market metamorphosed into a modern commercial point. In a passionate appeal, they called on the government to wake up to the responsibility of giving back to the market what the market has given to the government. The head of the market, Yawah said that,  “Whenever we communicate our plight to the authorities, they say we should wait, they are coming to our aid, but for years, they are still yet to come”, he maintained that, “We are again pleading with the Kachia Local Government Council and the Kaduna State Government. We need help from them. Since the inception of this market, there was no time in history its suffered setback”.

The head of the market further called on the government to do their market what it has done to other community markets by building modern stalls, stores, offices, a Police outpost, toilets with clean water for them.

“We don’t have even a toilet. We also rely on the stream for water,” alleged the head of the market who succeeded his father in 2016 after his demise.

Evidently, the Kudah market, which prides itself as ‘The Home of Ginger’, is a trade hub that has been contributing to the economic development of the country. A look at the market, and its popular commodity –the ginger –its health and economic importance, also being ran by unlettered people with the zeal of entrepreneurship, one would think that governments at various levels would support this initiative, unfortunately the reverse is the case.

There is an urgent need for the Federal Government, Kaduna State Government, as well as the Kachia Local Government Council to intervene changing this narrative of neglect that the market wallows in.

Ginger, being one of  the major cash crops in southern Kaduna State, has been noted for its diverse uses. It forms a vital ingredient in both medical and traditional medicines. It has been used to help indigestion, reduce nausea and help fight flu and common cold, to name a few. It can be used fresh, dried, powdered or as an oil in juice and it is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. According to HerbaZest, in 2000 alone the United States imported approximately 19,000 metric tons of ginger.

It is regarded as a plant that supports the immune system and also reduces the risk of diabetes. Ginger, aside being an anti-inflammatory that reduces cells damage is also a traditional remedy for menstrual pain. Ginger also helps in preventing heart disease, helps one lose weight, lower one’s risk of cancer among other benefits too numerous to mention.

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