The 2018 flood is yet to unfold all that it came with. Bayelsa state is one of the most affected states in the federation. When the flood came, it rendered many people homeless. The natural disaster also destroyed valuable properties. It spoilt farmlands. The implication is that the 2018 flood has set the stage for food shortage in the affected states.
TNN Metro gathered that there are strong indications that famine may hit Bayelsa state as part of the aftermath of the flood. This was evident at the popular Igbogene Market fondly referred to as plantain market. Situated at the entrance of Yenagoa, the Igbogene market sits along the Melford Okilo Expressway otherwise known as Mbiama/Yenagoa Road.
Though the market also trades on other commodities, it has plantains as its trademark. Prior to the 2018 disastrous flood, traders used to come from within and outside the state to purchase plantains at Igbogene market. Then, they could buy as many quantity as they wanted depending on the size of their pockets. They did buy the commodity at reasonably affordable price.
But today, the old good story of the Igbogene plantain market has changed to a rancid taste. The area where they used to display plantains in their quantity is now a shadow of itself. When TNN metro visited the market last Thursday, it was discovered that only a handful of the well cherished commodity were being displayed for sale, no thanks to the catastrophic flood which came, like a thief in the night, to steal, kill and destroy. As a result of its scarcity, the price of plantain has skyrocketed.
Funny enough, at the market place, both buyers and sellers of plantain were seen lamenting. Buyers were fuming because they could no longer afford the drastically high price of the item. On their part, sellers were lamenting because patronage has extremely dropped as a result of the price hike.
For instance, traders told TNN Metro that a bunch of plantain that sold between N1,000 and N1,500 before the flood, now sells between N3,000 and N3,500. A plantain dealer identified as Mrs. Fancy Okorie, said the flood has brought and untold hardship upon her family. The mother of four who described plantain business as her mainstay, lamented that the natural disaster had destroyed her source of livelihood.
She said "I don't have any other work apart from this plantain business. Before the flood, we used to buy as many quantity as we like and sell at affordable prices. But now, the reverse is the case. Now, there is no amount of money that would be enough for you to buy the quantity you want. Even if you managed to buy some, you can't even sell it because the price has gone up. This flood has finished me"
Similarly, an Epie woman who gave her name as Mrs. Juliet Munovie narrated that all the communities where she used to go and purchase plantains had lost their farmlands to the flood. "Anywhere I go to look for plantain to buy, they are complaining that the flood has destroyed their plantain plantations. If you managed to see plantain, the owners will call prices that you cannot afford because they know that the commodity is scarce. That is why the prices are very high here because we have to sell to also make little gain", she added.
Some plantain consumers who went to buy the stuff were seen lamenting because they found out that the price has doubled. Mr. Kingsley, a bachelor, who said he loved eating plantain everyday said he decided to go for yam because he was unable to purchase the quantity of plantain that he needed. "l love plantain so much. I wouldn't mind eating it everyday but I have no option that to go for another kind of stuff due to the sudden hike in the price of plantain", Kingsley noted.
It was observed that the Melford Okilo expressway that used to be flooded with bunches of plantains to the extent of causing traffic jam every Thursday at the Igbogene market was free.