Farmers supplying plantain produce to the Nkurakan market in the Yilo Krobo municipality of the Eastern region have accused market women patronizing their produce of taking advantage of the bumper harvest to exploit them, reports Rite News’ David Ayertey.
The farmers told this reporter that they were counting losses because of the bumper harvest, compelling buyers to buy plantain at ridiculously low prices.
The traders are said to be purchasing between four and six bunches of plantain for between Ghc 10 and Ghc 15, a situation the farmers say is resulting in inordinately heavy losses to them.
“The market women are really taking advantage of us and we are suffering heavy losses,” Adjo, a distraught farmer from Akpamu lamented bitterly.
Another, who gave her name as Salomey said while the amounts offered by the market women for their produce was ridiculously low, they were nevertheless to sell at the giveaway prices to avoid total losses.
“We are compelled to sell about four bunches of the plantain for Ghc 10 with about six bunches going for Ghc 15; we are really suffering,” she lamented.
For thirty-five year-old Akwasi Boadi, though prices of plantain fluctuates on the markets, this is the worst price drop farmers are compelled to bear. He said the situation has encouraged market women to dictate their own prices to farmers.
However, some market women have been defending their prices. One of the women said though prices have dropped in recent times as a result of the bumper harvest, they were not exploiting the farmers as alleged.
“Plantain prices have dropped from Ghc 120 to Ghc 50, Ghc 100 to Ghc 45, Ghc 300 to Ghc 200, etc. but buying the produce at giveaway prices would result in the farmers suffering losses so we pay at realistic prices,” she disclosed.
She nevertheless urged government to process the plantain for storage for future use to prevent losses to the farmers.
The farmers further lamented that the lack of storage facilities, unmotorable roads to the producing centres and high transport fares have affected the morale and interest of farmers, traders and drivers.
Previous surveys conducted indicated that foodstuffs, mostly plantain, were getting rotten on the market and at the farm gates due to the lack of storage facilities and vehicles to convey the produce to the sales points.
Traders, drivers and consumers interviewed at the Nkurakan market confirmed that there is abundance of plantain, putting traders in brisk business.