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Business News of Monday, 15 July 2019


Watermelon rots away in North East over lack of market

Large quantities of watermelon are rotting away in the North East Region due to the lack of storage facilities and access to a ready market.

A number of farmers in the region who were hopeful of cashing on the bumper harvest of this year’s crop season are now counting their losses.

Prices for the fruit have gone down in recent times in the area.

A large size of the fruit used to sell at GH¢10, now goes for as low as GH¢2 at the farm gate.

Even at that price, some of the farmers are unable to attract buyers, leaving the fruits to rot on the farms.

A visit to the area by Daily Graphic last week revealed heaps of the watermelon meant to attract buyers along the Nalerigu/Bunkpurugu road but which were getting rotten, while other farmers gave out the fruits to commuters for free.

A farmer at Buguya in the West Mamprusi municipality, Abdulai Zackaria, who cultivated about five acres of watermelon but could not get buyers for it said: “I spent about GH¢800 on the farm but I have not been able to recoup the money I invested, and even though I had a bumper harvest, there are no buyers”

Another farmer at Sakogu in the East Mamprusi municipality, Salifu Tia, claimed that all his investment including money for ploughing and purchasing of chemicals, had gone waste.

“Now I am not looking at making profit; my main concern is how to sell the fruits to pay back the money I borrowed for the cultivation,” he said.

Although the cultivation of watermelon holds a great potential of returns to farmers, lack of buyers and post-harvest losses remain their challenges.

Processing factory

In the midst of the challenges, the farmers appealed to the government and the private sector to come to their aid by establishing a watermelon-processing factory in the area.

“Most farmers here are into watermelon farming, but our challenge is that we do not get a ready market for our produce. As a result, middlemen continue to take advantage of us. I believe that siting a processing factory here will help us a lot,” a farmer, Baba Musah said.


Reacting to the development, the East Mamprusi Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Zakaria Hamidu expressed worry over the situation and said large quantities of watermelon went waste each season as a result of the lack of a ready market and storage facilities in the area.

“During one of our meetings with stakeholders, we looked at crops that can feed a factory and watermelon came up, but the meeting realized that watermelon is seasonal and if you establish a factory, it means that the factory will have to close down in the off-season,” he said.

As an interim measure, the director said the directorate was building the capacities of farmers on how to extract juice from the fruits for packaging.