Regional News Wed, 30 Apr 2003

Plantain producers complain about cheating by '"market queens"

Farmers in Asunafo District have renewed their outcry of exploitation by middlemen popularly called 'market queens' in the sale of plantain produced in the area.

A bunch of the crop, which sold for 20,000 cedis four months ago now attract between 7,000 and 9,000 cedis and this has dampened the spirit of the farmers.

Several of the farmers regretted at the trend of affairs in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Goaso and called on the Asunafo District Assembly to assist them to sell the produce at reasonable prices.

When contacted about plans the Assembly had to help reduce the farmers' plight, Mr George Yaw Boakye, District Chief Executive (DCE), told the GNA that the Assembly was in discussions with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and GATSBY, a Britain-based NGO, for the procurement of plantain processing machines and preservators.

He assured the producers that their plight would be ''alleviated in the not distant future.''

Mr Osei Adade, Asunafo District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) noted that plantain ranked second to cocoa in production in the area but the same could not be said of the crop on the market

Source: gna