#BounceExclusive: Help! Our Sweet Pawpaw Is Becoming Extinct
It is the season of the mouth organ and for now Nigerians will revel in the sweet melody of chewing and swallowing down our favorite corn.
But when the rainy agbado season is over, you might be waking up to the reality that one of our favorite items is going into extinction in the big cities.
Have you not noticed that getting pawpaw these days has been quite labourious?
We are talking about papaya the edible fruit, not the artificial sweet yellow (or black) pawpaw that men and babies love.
In spite of its availability and ability to grow throughout all seasons yearly, fruit sellers hardly have a single pawpaw fruit in their stall.
Lagos is a typical case study; from Ajah to Berger to Ibafo in Ogun state, a request to buy pawpaw is met with the "are you a learner" look.
A fruit trader in Ibafo food market was quick to dismiss the need to stock pawpaw even if the writer wanted a basket full.
“Don’t you know it does not sell fast? Among other fruits we sell, it is quick to rot and with just little spots, customers reject it,” she said, explaining why it makes no business sense.
Northern men have made a name with their mastery of the fruit selling business and they should know more.
One of them in Berger area of Lagos and another one in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, complained about the same challenge – no storage system.
The problem with pawpaws is that they seem to ripen all at once, going from hard and green to soft and succulent sweet in very few days.
So, better be ready to eat them all fresh or come up with some way to preserve them for later use.
However, refrigerating them can slow the ripening process down for a week or two and that is a pretty good, long time in fruit business.
But then, where is the electricity to power refrigerators?
So much for the federal government’s well hyped reforms in the agricultural sector and the campaign that we should drop our laptops and buy tractors.
Does this not further highlight the lack of proper storage system for agricultural produce in Nigeria?
You don’t know how good a thing is until you lose it, and just so you know; a small pawpaw contains about 300% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C.
Also, tea made from pawpaw leaves is consumed in many countries including Nigeria as protection against malaria