UNMASKING MARKETING DYNAMICS – A CASE STUDY OF YAM SELLERS IN BODIJA MARKET, OYO STATE-NIGERIA
As part of the mandate of the Innovation Lab for Policy Leadership in Agriculture & Food Security (PiLAF), a team of researchers visited Bodija market, one of the largest foodstuff markets in southwest Nigeria, with the aim of understanding the marketing dynamics of selected food commodities. The key objective is to develop a data bank that will provide prices of the selected food commodities capturing seasonal variabilities, price fluctuations and their determinants, as well as other trends which will be analysed and provide useful information that can help inform policy. The data bank will also be available to consumers.
Figure 1: Researchers with yam marketers at Bodija market.
Nigeria is largest producer of yam, accounting for between 70 to 75% of total world production. Apart from the nutritional benefits of yam consumption, it is also an important food stuff at cultural and traditional festivals.
Figure 2: Researchers standing beside some sets of yam for sale.
A team of researchers from PiLAF visited yam marketers at Bodija market on 3rd March, 2022. The team arrived the market around 11:15 AM and were well received by the marketers. The marketers were pleased to be a part of such an innovative endeavour after listening to the purpose of the visit (Figures 1 & 2). In the course of the interaction, some salient information was provided:
- Yam marketing is impacted by the commodity’s source and seasonality: yam from a variety of sources is sold all year round. From October to July, Abuja yam (yam from Abuja) is sold, while yam from Ekiti and Ondo states are sold from the end of July to the end of August. From the end of August to end of September, yam from Oyo state (especially from Oke-Ogun zone) is sold. Interestingly, the marketers went on to say that before the Abuja yam can be sold in the market, the association must give individual marketers a pass. And it is expected that yam from Oyo state is completely sold and out of the market before yam from other sources is accepted. The entrance of new yam into the market around August/September frequently drives the market price down, which could be due to an increase in yam supply to the market.
- The marketers also claimed that because yam is less perishable and can be preserved for some time, the rate of price volatility is not as high as it is in other commodities such as tomatoes, peppers, and vegetables. As a result, the price of yam assumes some semblance of stability up to three days before a fluctuation.
- Consistency looks to be a challenge in yam marketing, because yam tubers occur in a variety of sizes. As a result, finding new ways to introduce acceptable forms of standardization in our yam marketing system is critical.
In conclusion, the visit was encouraging and served as an eye opener to better ways to relate with the food commodity marketers as well as serving the society through provision of food commodity prices. It further revealed the importance of seasonality, source of yam commodity and associational influence on yam marketing and price dynamics in the typical Nigerian market.