The Esuk Mba community market in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State is still practising trade by barter, as a means of exchange for food items since it was established in 1956, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported, yesterday.
According to NAN, the market, which is located in a remote village in Esuk Mba, in Akpabuyo, is a weekly market that starts from 7:00am and ends at 12 noon; every Saturday.
Villagers usually move their consumable items to the market in exchange for the ones they are in need of.
This practice, NAN learnt, had been in peaceful existence among members of the community on every market day since 1956.
The community’s Youth Leader, M.r Asuquo Effiong, said the market, which serves as a tourist site to most visitors, is in dire need of a facelift.
He said the practice is still in existence because the market was handed over to them by their forefathers.
“We grew up to meet this market. We hold it so much in high esteem and we want to sustain it. We use it to remember our forefathers and to sustain our culture.
There are varieties of food items for exchange. In this market, you can bring your palm oil and exchange it for garri, yam, fish or plantain; as the case may be.
“The market is close to the riverside and our people here are predominantly fishermen. The community is not comfortable with the size of this market; there have been no expansion of the market since inception.
“In addition, we don’t have any good school here, no potable drinking water and health post. We need government intervention in this community,’’ he said.
A market woman, Mrs Eno Etim, who brought in yams for exchange for palm oil, said the tradition had been with them for ages.
According to Etim, she had no palm oil in her house, hence, she brought in four tubers of yam to exchange for a four litre of palm oil.
Also, Mrs Grace Okon, told NAN that she brought in periwinkle, popularly called `mfi’, in Calabar language, for exchange for garri, and added that it has helped them over the years, to save cost in view of the scarce financial resources.