Demand for various brands of local rice has surged in some part of the Eastern Region. In some major market centers the high demand had led to shortage of the food product on the market. This was revealed during a market survey conducted by the eveningmailgh.com in some selected major market centres in the region. Some of the centres visited include the Koforidua Central Market, Akyem Oda Central market and the Asamankese central market.
It was discovered that at the Akyem Oda and Asamankese central markets, the demands had compelled some distributors of rice to opt for the stocking of their shops with more brands of locally produced rice than imported rice. A visit to some key shops in these markets saw buyers buying the local rice in large quantities.
In the Koforidua Central Market, eveningmailgh.com’s Mudasiru Abdul Yakeen reported that some sellers were complaining of unavailability of the rice in large quantities. He reports that Mama Jane, a seller of rice and other assorted commodities, stated that though demand for the local rice was low before December, there has been an unexplainable instant surge in demand leading to its shortage. She stated that attempt to get distributors to help her restock her shop following the shortage have proved futile.
“All of a sudden I was shocked at how the local rice was moving out of my store. It got finished within a short while and all efforts to get some to restock have yielded no results,” she told this reporter.
Campaign for Local Rice
There has been a huge campaign for Ghanaians to patronize local rice. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Ministry of food and Agriculture have been at the forefront of the campaign. Some media organisations and individuals have joined the campaign for Ghanaians to patronize local rice. The President at this year’s encounter with the press announced that all state institutions have been directed to patronize made in Ghana rice.
Though marketers of food items say they cannot attribute the high in sales of made in Ghana rice to the campaign, it is evident that demand for the commodity has surged.
“I am not buying the local rice because of the president’s call. I am buying it because I love it. But I would not be surprised if people are buying it because of that. I am a seamstress and the pressure on me this year has gone up because a lot of people are sewing dresses instead of buying ‘already made’ dresses. I think we have just started loving what we produce here,” a seller told us.
Meanwhile some sellers have also been complaining of low sales this year. A seller of canned items at the Koforidua Central Market, Agyeiwaa Okodie, disclosed her disappointment at how sales are moving at a slower pace compared to previous years.
She stated that sales have been slow because she believes there is less money in the system. She was however optimistic that things will go well before the Christmas saying “a lot of people have not been paid by now, we are hopeful that by Monday when everybody would have been paid, sales will go on well”.
A seller of cooking oil products, who gave her name as Mary, said business used to be ‘very slow before this month’ adding that but sales have improved so far and expressed hope that in the final week to the Christmas, sales will even improve better.
Meanwhile some buyers have also stated that prices this year have been stable than previous years.
One Wendy Owusu stated that prices of a number of items especially food items have been maintained despite the hike in prices of items associated with Christmas festivities.
Ms. Owusu’s assertion was however refuted by another buyer who said though prices of items have not gone up exponentially, they are also not same as previous months. She however quickly added that prices of goods are not expected to remain the same and thus the slight change in prices suggest that prices of goods this year are still comparatively better.
Meanwhile, a visit to the market centers revealed that the marketers were busy with activities of buying and selling in readiness of the Christmas week.
The markets were overcrowded with lot of bargaining, offloading and loading of commodities from the market and to the market leading to huge human and vehicular traffic in and around the market centers.