The Onion Producers and Marketers Association (OPMAN) has announced its decision to suspend the supply of onions to the south-east owing to insecurity.
There has been a spike in criminal attacks in the south-east with security and government agencies increasingly targeted.
Announcing the decision in a statement on Wednesday, Aliyu Isah, OPMAN national president, said the association’s decision was based on the recent hijack of two of their members’ trucks by gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Imo state.
The gunmen were said to have hijacked the trucks and distributed their contents to the public.
In another development, Isah said farmers and marketers lost 200,000 bags of onions worth N2 billion to fire in Sokoto state.
Although the cause of the fire is yet unknown, Umar Aliyu, one of the farmers affected, said the fire started from Yan doya market at about 12:30 am on Wednesday.
“We were told that it started from a Golf vehicle that was offloading yams at the market and later spread to other places including where our storage facilities are,” he said.
“I personally lost 60 bags of onion and I know some that have lost more than 100 bags.”
The national president said the problem could lead to a serious onion crisis in the country because most of the affected producers and marketers had lost their investment.
“We are only praying to God to bring succor to them but it was a terrible and unfortunate incident,” he said.
“Some of the farmers sell their produce to buy input for the upcoming season and with this development, they cannot go back to the farm.”
He appealed to the federal and state governments to assist them so that they could sustain their businesses.