Various types of items have been used in Africa to promote the exchange of products as well as to assess wealth and authority. Many commodities, such as salt, shells, beads, metal, indigenous currencies, and later, European coins, jewelry, woven linen, weapons, and tools, were used in barter trade to exchange products and services between parties. Moving forward to the present, African countries have received new fiscal denominations that not only identify them by their names and legal cash, but also signify their sovereignty.
And, in the twenty-first century, when money is thought to be the solution to all issues, a town in southern Nigeria is demonstrating the opposite. The Esuk Mba community market in Cross River State’s Akpabuyo Local Government Area still trades by barter rather than money. Locals have been exchanging one food item for another since their neighborhood market opened in 1956.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the market, which is located in a remote village in Esuk Mba in Akpabuyo, is a weekly market that runs from 7 a.m. until noon every Saturday (NAN). Members of the community bring their consumable things to the market every market day in exchange for the ones they don’t have. Vegetables, fish, palm oil, fruits, and cassava are among the items sold by local sellers. Despite the fact that the arrangement isn’t ideal, local businesses told the BBC that it is “useful.”
“I collect anything they give me.” I leave it if it’s not good. Art Ekpo, a local trader, stated, “It’s helping us mothers and our children.”
“We grew up to match the demands of this market.” We hold it in such high regard that we want to see it continue. “We utilize it to commemorate our forefathers and to keep our tradition alive,” Asuquo Effiong, the Esuk Mba community’s Youth Leader, told NAN. “As you can see, there are a variety of food items available for exchange in this department. “You may bring your palm oil to this market and exchange it for gari, yam, fish, or plantain,” he explained.
Esuk Mba is a place where no money is exchanged. Residents, on the other hand, receive money when visitors tour the region or sell their wares outside of the community. According to a report, they utilize the money to pay bills such as school fees. Locals are grateful for the market, though, because it has helped them save money throughout the years.
The Esuk Mba market is only open for a couple of hours. It is hoped that there will be more. “The particular problem we encounter here is that the market does not remain open for long periods of time. “I want the market to last longer, from morning to evening,” Merit Akon, a dealer, told the BBC.
The market has aided in the preservation of the community’s culture. “In the case of Akpabuyo and Esuk Mba in general, barter trade would never be banned in Cross Rivers State.” Chief Edem Duke, the traditional ruler of Akpabuyo, recently stated, “We cannot remove the system.”
“There is nothing like stressing and affirming culture,” says Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Commerce in Cross River State.
“As a money-making trading venture, it would fail.” “However, it reminds us and our children that money did not always solve all problems,” she remarked.