Bitter Kola: Becoming a gold mine
Bitter kola is among the products whose prices became skyrocketed of late.
Prior to this moment, bitter kola doesn’t have much value. It could be given out freely. Owners of bitter kola trees could forego some that fell off their trees.
But in recent times, it is discovered that the high demand for the commodity is unprecedented, thereby creating a room for an insinuation that something valuable must have been discovered in it.
Umabi is a community in Udi local government area of Enugu State. The community has bitter kola in abundance. It is a very big business.
Mrs Jide Offor is a native and dealer. She said, “The product is in abundance because our forefathers developed interest in planting the economic tree.
“Many families have them. Even now, the present generation of this town is still planting them, knowing well that they are economic trees.
“How you plant it is not by extracting the seeds from the bulk. Rather, when they mature and you want to get the ones you want to plant, you throw them inside your land. The shell will rotten there and the seeds germinate. After germination, you start uprooting them for plantation.
“Even though it will take many years to mature, but anybody that has enough land should start developing interest because in future, I see it being more demanded than now.
“This town Umabi and its neighbouring towns like Amokwe, Achi, and Obinagu have it in a large quantity.”
Another dealer said, “Bitter kola has many economic and health benefits. That is why everybody is taking care of it very well.
“It is used in the production of local medicine. It cures cough. If a child is born, people are usually advised to grind bitter kola and put it inside the water and be giving it to babies. It cures and prevents diarrhoea.
“One other thing is that a lot of people believe that it is an anti-poison. Many do put one or two in a bag whenever they want to go out so that if they mistakingly eat poisonous things, they will eat it as a remedy.
“It is also used in the production of alcoholic drinks. These may have made the prices soar presently.”
Adadareporters learnt that a small bucket of it is sold for N9,000 or N10,000, depending on the sizes.
Many people from Lagos, Port Harcourt and Igbo Ukwu in Anambra State go to Umabi to buy the product.
Kachi, a dealer, said, “It is sold in that way because this is the season. The months of June, July and August are always the time you see it in a larger quantity.
“Many are using this period to store it because around November and December, a bucket one can even be sold for N17,000.
“How to store them is by spreading them on the floor that is covered with bags. After one week, you put them in a basket which is supposed to last one or two weeks; after you put them in a bag and make sure that air does not enter it, especially during harmattan to avoid shrinking and removing the scales.”Join our Conversation forums