TEARS have constantly been flowing on the faces of Ghanaian tomato traders at the CMB tomato trading market within the central business district of Accra.
This sad development is because thousands of tons of ripped tomatoes bought by Ghanaian traders far away from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to Accra-CMB were currently getting rotten, a situation that has brought huge debts on many of the Ghanaian tomato traders.
The wailing traders who could not hide their frustration blamed the situation on what they described as “unethical attitudes and behaviours” of the Chairman of the Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association (GNTTTA), Mr Eric Tuffuor, National President of Greater Accra Regional Tomato Traders Association, Madam Juliana Adjua Mensah, and General Secretary of Greater Accra Regional Tomato Traders Association, Madam Lydia Afoley Anum, an executive member of the Association, Madam Adeai Kotey, including Mr Sampson Apoh alias Chairman One and one Samuel at the CMB-Nima Lorry Station.
The traders who ply their trade at the commercial market centre of Accra Brewery/CMB alleged that the above-leaders of the local tomato trading associations with the support of some senior police officers at the Accra Railway Police Station were in bed with some recalcitrant traders to bring in Togolese tomato traders to take over their business at Accra CMB market without recourse to the rules and regulations guiding the tomato trading business in the market.
That situation, they lamented, was accounting for large cartons of rotten tomatoes by the locals at Accra CMB tomato trading market because of the perishable nature of the commodity.
Currently, they lamented that those recalcitrant tomato traders in Accra have been helping Togelese traders to bring in large quantities of tomatoes which they package in big medium size baskets to market in Accra which they largely sell to customers at cheaper prices.
According to the locals, they have observed that the farmer price of tomatoes from Togo packaged in big medium size basket brought to Accra CMB was very moderate compared to the farmer price of tomatoes loaded in carton from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Accra for sale.
The Ghanaian tomato traders said that the Togolese tomato traders have taken advantage of the situation to sell their commodity at very cheaper prices to their detriment.
Again, they complained bitterly that whenever they confronted the Togolese to stop them from selling tomatoes in Accra CMB market, their close associates of Togolese and some recalcitrant traders in the persons of Mr Sampson Apoh, alias Chairman One, and Samuel at the CMB Nima Lorry Station will always come in to report them (the traders in the commercial market centre of Accra Brewery/CMB) to the police at the Railway Police Station.
What was very annoying, according to them, was the quick action often taken by the police to act in this matter.
They indicated that the situation was giving undue advantage to the Togolese tomato traders.
“It is very pathetic that loads of our tomato cartons brought from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso are currently rotting.”
“This phenomenon is making us to suffer huge losses which are killing our business. So we are calling on the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately come to their aid by way of fully enforcing the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre’s Act (Act 865), which bars foreigners from operating in the country’s retail sector.
“We are telling foreigners to leave our market. We are not telling them to leave the country. They can do wholesale but not retailing of tomatoes,” they traders stressed.
They maintained that failure by the government to fully enforce the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre’s Act (Act 865) would compel them to stage massive naked demonstration to force the government to enforce the law that reserves retail trade for locals.