LEADERSHIP of tomato traders in the Central Business District (CBD) of CMB under the Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association who have been recently relocated to the Hearts Park adjacent to the Arts Centre in Accra have warned that the tomato traders who would disobey the mandatory tomatoes routine sale schedule and to go on trip to bring in tomatoes to Accra for sale, would be completely banished from the market.
They cautioned that no tomato traders would be allowed to use their own power to go on the trip to bring cartons of tomatoes and offload in the new location (Hearts Park) anymore like what they have been illegally doing in their previous market centres like Mokola, CMB, Tudu Agbogbloshieand Kwasiadwaso.
They stressed that any trader who goes contrary to the directives would be dealt with the new law to serve as deterrent to others.
The CMB Tomatoes Traders Association with 265 membership at the CMB, and headed by its National President, Madam Lydia Afoley Anum has a routine schedule for the sale of tomatoes which guarantees that five trucks with each truck carrying eight traders from the CMB association will go on a trip each day.
But according to the leadership of the Association, some traders with the supreme support of the recently installed substantive Queen-Mother for Accra Brewery/CMB Market, Naa Ayikai Korle Dudor l (Dzalanye) aka Grace Konu Ogboo who is also tomatoes trader continued to adopt their previous inhumane practices and attitudes by way of disobeying the mandatory routine tomatoes sale schedule.
They noted that Madam Grace Konu Ogboo and her associates had been creating confusion within the tomatoes market with their claims that they were not the members of the Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association, saying that nobody can control them in the market.
However, these behaviours of Madam Grace Konu Ogboo and her associates did not argur well with the leadership of the tomatoes regulatory association for which they vowed to crack down the wheel on the tomato traders whho break the law in the market.
They alleged that the close associates of Madam Ogboo had currently team up with other tomato sellers from different regions to bring their produce down to the market centre of Accra Hearts Park to sell, and that whenever “you confronted Madam Grace Konu Ogboo over the issue she ends up insulted everybody including the AMA officials in the market.”
“We have been informed that Madam Grace Konu Ogboo with her followers are currently selling the tomatoes at the Hearts Park on behalf of some individuals who are not members of the Greater Accra Tomato Ttraders Association.
“These recalcitrant individuals were those who were illegally going on to the trip by using their own tomatoes sale schedules and bring tomatoes and offloaded on shoukders of the streets at the CMB,” they stated.
That practice of these individuals, according to the leadership of the Association, had made tomatoes become abundant in the market, get rotten within few days and are thrown away.
Speaking in an interview with the Queen-mother of Tomato Traders of CMB, Naa Charity Otumfo condemned the attitudes of tomato traders who had teamed up with Naa Ayikai Korle Dudor l to exhibit such untoward behaviours and called on the managers of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Ministry of Trade and Industry to call Grace Kuno Ogboo and his followers to order.
“Madam Grace Kuno Ogboo and his followers should be made to respect our law and regulations (tomatoes sale schedule) becacuse we know that she has been installed queen-mother to control the land for Accra Brewery/CMB Market for elders of Korley but she has not been installed queen-mother to control and coirdinate affairs of tomato traders in CMB,” Naa Charity Otumfo warned.
Naa Charity Otumfo pointed out that the tomatoes business in Accra have been guided by law, saying that since her installation as the queen mother of tomato traders in CMB, she played a leading role to ensure that there is proper control and coordination on how tomato products were brought from other regions or Burkina Faso to Accra Brewery/ CMB to be sold to customers.
But, according to her, the continous behaviours of Madam Grace Konu Ogboo led groups have generally created confusion and tension within the tomatoes commercial market centre in Hearts Park, thereby accounting for the large cartons of rotten tomatoes.”
In this regard, the queen-mother stressed the need for those traders to immediately desist from fraughting the routine tomatoes sale schedule in order to prevent themselves from being landed into the grip of the law.
She stressed that “we have now decided to let the law deal with these traders in our marketing now.In case if you are caught fraughting the sale schedule the leadership would ask you to pay a fine or punish you and if you refuse to do so then we shall take legal action against you,” the queen-mother further stressed.
“Aside from this, our tomatoes go rotten since it is a perishable commodity. We are therefore calling on the president to intervene by way of impressing upon the AMA security task force to allow only tomato loaded vehicles with the traders under the Greater Accra Tomato Association to sell in Accra Hearts Park,” she averred.
She subsequently appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to assist them to get better prices for their tomatoes.
She noted that their worry was the fact that huge numbers of tomato traders in Accra who took loans from the banks to buy tomatoes did not have a ready market for their goods thereby resulting in huge losses.
She indicated that if immediate measures were not taken by the Central government to address the problem, the country’s laudable trade and business policies would be defeated.
They stressed the need for government to intervene so as to avoid the situation where businesses, particularly tomato business, will become unattractive.
The queen-mother also asked government to create an avenue where there will always be a ready market for tomatoes.
However when contacted to respond to the series of the allegations leveled against her, Madam Grace Konu Ogboo described the allegations as a completely hatred and untrue being perpetrated to soil her reputation.
She indicated that Naa Charity Otumfo and her people were wrongly accusing her of what she has not done, saying that since “the Accra Metropolitan Assembly moved us to Hearts Park l have not offload tomatoes to sell in the market.
In addition, she mentioned that “those traders on my camp who broght tomatoes from Burkina Faso to Accra Hearts Park to sell were traders who had gone to trip in Bukina Faso to bring the tomatoes before the new tomatoes sale schedule came to force.”
She stated that the Naa Charity Otumfo and her followers were against her because of her continous stance to challenge them of not making proper accounts on the money they paid for the sticking tickets on the trip to bring tomatoes from other regions to Accra to sell.