By Rukayat Moisemhe and Adebola Adegoke
Lagos – Orange traders in Lagos say poor transportation is putting the fruits at high risk of spoiling and attracting loss of hundreds of thousands of naira per truck of rotten oranges.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday, the traders said they were also battling with challenge of multiple inter-state levies.
They said that more than one third of a truckload of oranges could rot due to poor roads and breakdown of vehicles.
Mr Omotayo Nurudeen, the Chairman of Orange Traders Association, said that the delay of trucks on the roads would naturally result in reduction of the lifespan of the fruits.
“We thought that life span of an orange is give or take a week after which it begins to go bad.
“And here, it is a curse if we sell rotten oranges to anyone and so we have to dispose them.
“As a result, the dealers record major losses due to the nature of the fruits and also delays on the road which could have been avoided if the roads are in good condition,’’ he said.
The chairman said that a truck load of oranges was 240 regular baskets, after which when delayed, “we can only get between 150 and 180 baskets.”
“A regular basket goes for N2,500 each and a truck load is expected to make not less than N600,000 per trip.
“However, that has never been the case after travelling from the far North.
“When the vehicle gets here, we are left with between N350,000 and N400,000 and so the dealers can hardly make up for the goods they collected from the farmers.
“What then is the gain if losses can be this much,’’ he asked.
He said that the trucks were sometimes charged as much as N100,000 for a truckload carrying oranges worth N600,000.
Oranges are transported from Benue, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti States to Lagos.
Benue State is reported to provide the largest quantity of oranges with an average of 15 trucks offloaded daily at various markets within the Lagos metropolis.
The orange traders urged the Federal Government government to address the ongoing crisis in Benue as the impact was beginning to tell on the supply of not just oranges, but several other farm produce. (NAN)