Maize farmers in the Brong-Ahafo Region have expressed discomfort over low prices for maize and called for a standardised value for their produce to sustain them in business and enhance their socio-economic livelihood.
The farmers were unhappy that because they lacked storage facilities to preserve their produce, retailers and middlemen took advantage of that and bought the product at cheaper prices during bumper harvest.
At a sensitisation meeting, held in Techiman, Nana Kwao Adams, the Chairman of the Brong-Ahafo Maize Growers Association (BAMGA) said the nation needed a uniformed weighing scale to control the market price of maize, and appealed to the government to intervene.
The Centre of Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), a Non-governmental organisation in collaboration with BAMGA organised the meeting which was attended by maize farmers and retailers in the Techiman Municipality.
It formed part of an advocacy project being implemented by COPIO and BAMGA with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund aimed at helping to identify and remove bottlenecks impeding the economic activities of the farmers.
Nana Adams, who is the Twafohene of Oforikrom in the Techiman Municipality, observed that the maize farmers felt cheated because there was no standard scale to weigh their produce on sale.
Retailers and middlemen, according to the Chairman bought a bag of maize from the farmers using the size five sack, which is 135kg, and later used the size four sack to sell the produce to their advantage.
He commended BUSAC for the support, and appealed to all relevant institutions to join the advocacy to bring significant change in the maize sector.
Dr John Akparep, a lecturer at the University of Development Studies, and a consultant for COPIO, called on the government to address the large disparity in the prices of maize in the country.
To address the nationwide price gap in the maize sector, he recommended the need for government to consider buying the produce from farmers, especially during bumper harvest and stored them for future use.
Dr Akparep believed if this was done, retailers and middlemen in the sector would have no option than to buy the produce at a controlled price set by the government.
More so, Dr Akparep called on the government to support maize growers in the country by providing incentives such as improved seeds, logistics and agro-chemicals to enable them to expand their farming activities.
Mr. George Baah, a maize farmer at Tanoso, near Techiman, said the low price of maize was making the sector unattractive as many growers were also operating at a loss.
He observed that successive governments had failed maize farmers in the country, saying the advocacy to push for the standardised price for their produce begun several years ago, and appealed to the ruling government to intervene.
Mr Mustapha Yeboah, the Executive Director of COPIO, said stakeholders’ meeting and media sensitisation would be organised for the project to achieve desired results.