Markets across the country are being closed to implement social distancing which is a critical protocol in the fight against COVID-19. However, we need a more innovative approach that will enable the villagers sell their farm produce while practicing social distancing.
1. We must adopt football fields, community centres and open spaces in the various communities as temporary markets for sale of food items only.
2. Canopies must be provided at those spaces with clear demarcation for social distancing purposes.
3. There must be separate products for the different locations to avoid too many people going to one place. For instance, fruits, vegetables and cooking oil in one location; foodstuffs in one location; fish and meat products in another location; etc.
4. There must be proper planning as well as information, education and communication systems that will direct both sellers and buyers to the right places.
5. Market women who come from the big cities to buy foodstuffs in bulk from farming areas will continue to feed the population in those cities.
This way there will not be artificial shortage of food in particular with its attendant black marketing. Hunger will not arise out of the lockdown and farmers will not have their food getting rotten in the villages.
This arrangement will prevent any possible rebellion from market women and a hungry population that is already traumatised by COVID-19.
Paul Asare Ansah is the NPP Parliamentary Candidate for Asuogyaman Constituency and Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Transport. He is also the immediate past Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.