Competition, success and secrecy are fundamental characteristics of the local food economy of Ibadan, Nigeria. With the growth of the processed cassava, or gari, trade throughout this area, these characteristics are revealed in a number of contexts in the food trade. Traders and shopkeepers circulate their wealth and plough profits back into a range of trading items to obscure their exact economic status from other traders and their families. Success in this context entails secrecy in a number of respects. In relation to buyers in the gari trade, secrecy entails the obfuscation of whether the trader deals retail or wholesale, what she is worth in terms of food stocks and her personal wealth. Successful traders also invest their earnings in social celebrations, in their children's education and in personal homes that all work to foster and enhance their social status and validate their wealth.