June 2, 2023

Despite inadequate tomatoes in major markets in the cities pushing prices high, tomato farmers in Chinto, Yaayaso, Abodobi, and its surrounding villages in Fanteakwa South District in Eastern Region are grappling with high post-harvest losses due to extremely bad roads.

June and July are major harvesting months for the tomato farmers in Chinto, Yaayaso, Abodobi, and its surrounding villages.

However, the road to the communities becomes unmotorable whenever it rains. Farmers had to hire tricycles to transport the harvested tomatoes to the Obuoho community, which is about 14 kilometres away, to meet buyers reluctant to come to the community.

Farmers sell a basket of tomatoes for GHC 80 to the buyers.

The farmers are worried about the poor state of their roads and lack of electricity in the community, which are discouraging the youth from going into agriculture.

“We are farmers here but our road is very terrible. We don’t have electricity too. The only thing politicians bring to us here is the ballot boxes. We farm tomatoes here, but because of the road, only a few traders come here; sadly, they buy the tomatoes at a cheaper price,” a farmer told Starr News.

Another farmer narrated that “Whenever it rains, no car comes here because the road is deplorable, so the tomatoes get rotten on the farms. When it happens like that, we have to hire a tricycle to transport the tomatoes to meet buyers in the next community, which is about 14km before they buy our tomatoes.

“The government has been encouraging the youth to go into farming, but look at our condition here. Our road is bad, no electricity here. If you farm, then it gets rotten because vehicles are unable to farm. Very soon, we will all migrate to cities,” the farmer lamented Ransford Amanor.

The mini Truck driver said because of the poor roads, drivers are reluctant to come to the community. He and a few drivers who brace all odds to drive to the communities charge exorbitant fares.

“The road is terrible for us drivers. Whenever it rains, no vehicles are able to come here for days because if you try, you will get stuck for two days. No fuel too…so whenever we make it here, we charge GHC 50 per box of tomato to Begoro, then those from Begoro to Accra charge GHC 60 cedis. Meanwhile, they buy from the farmers at GHC 80, so obviously, when the trader gets to Accra, she will sell it at a high price; that is why food prices are high in the cities, so let the president be aware,” said Ransford Amanor, a truck driver.

A tomato trader said deplorable road in the communities deters many traders from buying from the farmers.

“The deplorable state of the road is a great worry to us the traders. As you can see, it is about to rain so we have abandoned the farmers because the driver is afraid of getting stuck. We are going to the next community to wait for them to bring the tomatoes with the tricycle,” a trader who identified himself only as Mama, lamented to Starr News.

The Assembly Member for Abodobi Electoral Area, Samuel Kpartey, said he has written several letters to the Fanteakwa South District Assembly for the road to be rehabilitated but to no avail.

He said due to the poor state of the roads, teachers mostly do not accept posting to the community. The few ones who accept posting always come to school late due to lack of transportation.

During a recent tour in parts of the Eastern Region, the Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, debunked claims of food shortage in the country.

He said evidence on the grounds and data presented by the various regional agricultural directorates point to the availability of enough food in the country; therefore, any claim of food shortage and famine in the coming next year are mere speculations.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, however, said the high food inflation is not a result of rising fuel prices, high cost of agrochemicals, and other external factors, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has affected the importation of some staples.

According to the World Bank, Ghana losses $700,000 annually on post-harvest losses.

The World Bank report also estimates that the value of PHL in Sub-Saharan Africa could potentially reach nearly US$4 billion a year out of an estimated annual value of grain production of US$27 billion.

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