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'Come over into Bono East and help us,' says a mango plantation farmer to the government

Salon Mangoes Some harvested mangoes

Sun, 28 Aug 2022 Source: Rockson Adofo

As it is in Acts 16:9 – “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us”, so it is now occurring in Bono East region where a desperate poor farmer is calling the government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to come over into Bono East and help them.

The woman’s large family mango plantation has almost every branch of mango trees therein, bearing many ripe fruits. Nevertheless, she cannot find any buyer for the mangoes.

She risks running into debts to subsequently incur the wrath of the banks and persons from whom she took loans to cultivate the mango farm

This situation is not unique or peculiar to her but affects many mango farmers throughout the region and beyond.

It is this situation of bountiful yield of crops and trees but without finding buyers that has often culminated in the impoverishment of farmers engaged in both perennial and seasonal crop farming in Ghana. Whenever there is a plenty harvest by farmers in a particular year and without any meaningful sales, or with difficulty finding buyers to enable them break even, let alone, making profit, many such a farmer becomes discouraged.

If such problems persist for a few more years, they either chop down those crops to plant something else, or they completely cease to carry on with their farming activities to only relocate to the cities in search of public service jobs, or do buy and sell trading. By this behaviour, one can very well understand why we suffer from periodic food shortages or high cost of food as a nation.

Several years ago, Ghana was suffering from intermittent corn shortages hence prices of foodstuffs skyrocketing. This was because farmers would not continue to grow corn, only to suffer in the end when they could not secure sales for their produce because of plentiful harvest.

One will recollect that the then government established a Food and Purchasing Board or whatever it was called to buy the excess corn produced by the farmers to guarantee them a minimum income. This was for the avoidance of farmers deciding not to do farming the following year, only to incur in the nation suffering from shortages of locally produced farm products.

Do you think the woman from Bono East, as seen in the video below, will continue to do mango farming if she doesn’t find a buyer and all her tearful appeals to the government and the public fall on deaf ears? I am afraid so.

I had once been in a similar situation where I could for years not find buyers for the harvested, or about to be harvested, oranges from my nearly eighty to hundred acres of citrus plantation.

At times, I had to pay people just to pluck the oranges from the trees, leave them on the farm to rot.

I could not find buyers to purchase them even at a loss to me which I would gladly have accepted.

I perfectly understand the difficult situation or the dilemma the woman is in without necessarily putting my foot in her shoes. I have been there before. I am now fortunately or otherwise, out of the citrus farming.

In my days, the government had for some reasons banned orange buyers from Burkina Faso while Ghana was saturated with ripe oranges much greater for raw local public consumption. It must be processed or exported.

Many people did chop down their orange trees to go into cocoa, cashew and foodstuff farming.

Will the mango farmers not do same if after all their heavy monetary resources and labour invested in the project go up in flames; not find a buyer(s).

I hope nobody will blame her for not doing a risk assessment on mango farming before entering into it. There wasn’t any need for submitting a business plan for approval by whomever prior to her going into the mango farming.

I sympathise with her and all those in the same situation. I understand her frustrations and the pain she is going through.

The woman is screaming for help, help, as the French will shout “au secour, au secour”

Can anyone help her?

Columnist: Rockson Adofo