As the dry season farming begins in the Upper East Region, farmers in Gowrie, Vea and its surrounding communities under the irrigable portion of the Vea Irrigation Dam, in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region, have expressed grave concerns over the lack of ready market for their produce.
Speaking to A1 Radio at Vea, the farmers explained that due to the perishable nature of the vegetables they produce and the unavailability of cold storage facilities, they lose their harvests when they are unable to sell them off quickly. Their continuous losses, they explained, prevents them from investing more resources into expanding their businesses.
When the A1 News Team visited the area, a farmer, Ayine Atanga, who has been growing pepper, tomatoes and a mix of other vegetables explained that after harvesting, the main source of market is market women who serve as intermediaries between the farmers and the final consumers. Mr. Atanga said the farmers are shortchanged by the market women, who take advantage of the farmers’ desperation.
“When we harvest, the market is not always there and we are always forced to sell our produce at very low prices which affect our business. It is through our sales that we are able to buy our fertilisers and other farm inputs for the next dry season farming,” he noted.
He continued to say that “last year like this, the market was very bad which made us sell a bag pepper for little over ghs600”.
Another farmer, Ayamga Avea, who is into cabbage, onion and lettuce production told the A1 News team that the farmers are also unable to bear the rising cost of fertilisers and other farm inputs. He said the situation is affecting their yields because they are unable to afford enough fertilisers for their farms.
Mr. Avea noted that “we need to spray them [the plants] and also apply fertiliser but if we are not able to get enough fertiliser at the right time then it will affect our yields and our profits because it is from this farming that we are able to cater for our families”.
“So if we are not able to get these fertilisers how then do we produce more?” he quizzed.
A1radioonline.com|101.1 MHz|Kennedy Zongbil & Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Vea|Ghana