The onset of the rains in Ghana around this time is largely a blessing for the population engaged in farming, especially because irrigation facilities are woefully inadequate, making all-year round farming challenging.
However, aside from the floods that render many homeless, some traders at the Agbogbloshie and Mallam Atta Markets in Accra say the rains have taken a toll on their sales.
According to them, business is generally slow also due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear consumers have about visiting the markets centres.
For most traders in both markets, they are severely affected by the rains as they’re forced to sell their produce at cheaper prices to prevent them from going bad because less people visit the markets.
Although food prices are normally down around this time of year, the traders told Citi Business News they have been forced to further reduce prices due to the heavy rains in the past few weeks.
One trader said “Due to the rains, pepper is in abundance which has automatically reduced its price. But for the red pepper it goes bad whenever it rains heavily so it’s quite expensive compared to the green pepper. An olonka of the green pepper is Ghc10, whereas an olonka of red is Ghc20″.
“We sold cucumber at Ghc300 just last week , but now we sell a basket for Ghc80 or Ghc90. We have reduced it drastically but it is still not purchased. Even if I reduce it to Ghc30 they will still not buy” another trader lamented.
Aside the heavy rains, the traders say patronage is generally low largely due to the fear of COVID-19, a situation that leads to revenue losses.
At the Mallamatta Market, there were hardly buyers, as many traders sat idle just chatting.
In a survey conducted last month on market prices of some selected commodities, Esoko Ghana, a food commodity analyst, it said the price of tomatoes recorded the highest increase in May 2020.
However, the price of the same commodity has reduced drastically for the month of June.
Previously, the average price of a 72 kilogram crate of the commodity went up by almost 13% to record 933 cedis; from the 826 cedis it recorded the month before. But it is now selling at as low as Ghc300.
A market queen who confirmed the price said “A box of Tomatoes can be sold from Ghc300. It’s seasonal and unpredictable.”
The Ghana Statistical Service had also attributed the rise in inflation in May which stood at 11.3% to be as a result of the continuous rise in prices of food items.
The Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, explained that the rise was triggered by the increase in food prices before and during the three-week partial lock-down period in April.
The traders say the period of the partial lockdown indeed took a toll on their activities.
“Before the lock-down due to the Covid-19, business was good, but after the lock-down customers don’t come because they are scared of contracting the virus. We used to sell foodstuffs to restaurants and other big event planners, but because they are all not operating fully, it has affected us too. Our foodstuffs always get rotten” , one other trader said.
She was backed by another trader who said “Market is slow, the lock-down prevented the goods from being transported to us here from up North, but now that they can provide us with the yams, buyers are not coming We are not able to sell. The little we get we use it for transportation, meanwhile we have children waiting to be fed at home. Even when we fall sick we are unable to visit the clinic and instead rely on self-medication.”