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Kano residents lament high cost of sugar, resort to local alternative

Kano residents lament high cost of sugar, resort to local alternative
March 03
09:16 2024

Many Kano residents have resorted to using locally-produced brown sugar (known as mazarkwaila), due to the high cost of granulated sugar.

TheCable understands that the price of granulated sugar has soared in recent days, with a 50KG bag of the commodity now selling for about N80,000 in the state, while measurements in smaller quantities go for about N5,000.

Mazarkwaila is made from sugarcane and is largely produced in Ikara, Makarfi, and Soba local government areas of Kaduna and transported to Kano in large quantities for sale.

The brown sugar is said to give the same taste as the granulated sugar, although “much healthier in effect”.

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Consumers in the state have been compelled to use brown sugar for foods such as gruel, fura, and tea.

Speaking to TheCable, residents said they found mazarkwaila much more affordable than granulated sugar, as a pack costs between N250 and N400 compared to about N5,000 paid for a measured quantity of granulated sugar.

Adamu Mohammed, a resident, said he stopped using granulated sugar when he realised he could no longer afford it.

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“I spent about three months without putting sugar in my meals such as gruel or tea, until the alternative was discovered in Mazarkwaila which I now use to my taste,” Mohammed said.

Buhari Jazuli, also decried the high cost of purchasing the white product, describing it as, “the prohibitive price of granulated sugar”.

“My only hope is that sellers of this brown sugar will not hike its price too, because I know that the attitude of the average Nigerian trader is to increase the price of his wares when he realises an increase in their demand, especially now that the Ramadan fast is approaching,” Jazuli said.

‘CUSTOMERS LEFT WHEN I INCREASED THE PRICE OF MY TEA DUE TO HIGH SUGAR COST’

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On his part, Mamuda Salisu, a tea seller, said he had since stopped using granulated sugar in his tea and turned to brown sugar because of the soaring price of the chemically processed white sugar.

“I realised that I was no longer breaking even when I was using granulated sugar because of its high cost, and when I increased the price of my tea from N50 to N100 per cup, many of my customers ran away,” Salisu said.

“But when I discovered Mazarkwaila and started using it, I reversed the price of my product to N50 per measure, and the customers are now returning, and the business is returning to normal.”

Speaking also on the price adjustments, Isiyaku Garba, a trader of the alternative sugar, said business has been brisk since the consumers turned to the commodity.

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Garba said he now rakes in about N15,000 daily.

“Before now, I was hawking sugarcane, but when I noticed the sudden preference of brown sugar to granulated sugar, I started buying and selling the brown sugar which I find more profitable,” Garba said.

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He, however, said there are no plans to increase the price of the commodity before or during the Ramadan fast.

Garba added that if market forces increase the price, there is nothing he can do, noting that he joined this business to make gains.

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Nigeria is currently experiencing one of the worst economic crises in its history following recent policies of the federal government.

On February 15, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported an inflation rate of 29.9 percent, as food prices continue to soar in the country.

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