It is now getting increasingly difficult for farmers and traders in Ogun State to make profits as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) beefed-up border security across the country.
Stakeholders, particularly farmers in Ogun State have lamented what they termed the insensitivity of the Federal Government in the execution of its check on the influx of imported food items into the country.
In an interview, the Balogun of Imeko in Ogun State, Emeritus Prof. Anthony Asiwaju disclosed that tomato farmers in Imeko, a border town in the Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, were being prevented from moving their produce into markets in Ogun and Lagos States by the Customs and Immigration officers manning the border. Asiwaju said the officials stopped the Imeko tomato farmers and traders from moving their produce, thinking that tomatoes were imported.
The looming threats: According to Asiwaju, as a result of the increased border security, the farmers, who were in the middle of their annual harvest, had become agitated seeing their farm produce rotting away.
“We are in the middle of the harvest season, the harvesting takes just a few weeks, but there is a glut of tomatoes in the farms now and all the tomatoes are wasting.
“The enforcement here, as in other border communities of Ogun State, must recognise produce that are produced on the Nigerian side of the border. Fresh tomatoes from Imeko are typical. We produce tomatoes here but the markets to which they are taken are in Obada, Owode, Lafenwa in Abeokuta, and Mile 12 in Lagos.
“Loads of harvested tomatoes are ready for movement to the markets, only for the farmers, traders and the transporters to be stopped. We are almost going into a situation where the farmers and the traders are revolting at the house of the Onimeko.”