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‘Compel mall developers’ to sell Nigerian alternatives to foreign fruits’

An indication has emerged revealing that the visibility of foreign agricultural products especially fruits in new and oil mega shopping malls, thus threatening the ongoing agriculture driven diversification of the ailing economy.

Some of the leading fruits found in all the malls include orange, banana, mango, pawpaw and even pineapples.

Explaining the dangers of the trend in an interview, Mallam Umar Gidado, a transporter of Orange whose work is to haul oranges and other fruits from North central part of Nigeria to Lagos said “because many Nigerians now go after foreign fruits coming mainly from South Africa, our local farmers are now closing shops and my own business is nowhere”.

Gidado called on the government and relevant agencies in charge of monitoring compliance to importation of agricultural products to raid the malls and in the process warn them to desist from importing fruits that are produced in Nigeria in abundance.

“Go to many markets waste dumps sites and you will shed tears for Nigerian farmers on the rising volume of spoilt fruits and other food stuff due to poor sales.

“Before, the markets do not have high number of spoilt fruits because the malls buy in large quantities, but since they turned to imports, local farmers are now suffering glut.

Experts say time has come for the government to truly save farmers to avoid encouraging farming from our side and discouraging them from the other.

Already, Top Services Ltd Real Estate Investment Trust (TSL REIT) team manager, Mr Winston Osuchukwu has said that in 2016, “mall development continued at a rapid pace with around five malls going into operation.” However, “currency issues, high power costs and falling real income were a challenge for the retailers and the mall operators.”

He noted that the new malls which came on stream last year were an indication that “the organised retail sector that malls serve is still in its infancy. So we can expect to see more malls to open in the foreseeable future.”