Tomatoes trading War Brouhaha: Pressure Mounts On AMA and Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly To call recalcitrant tomato traders to order

LEADERSHIP of tomato traders of CMB under the umbrella body of Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association have mounted intense pressure on the manageents of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly (KOKMA) to institute human-centered measures to urgently call to order the recalcitrant traders who have been moved from the CMB tomatoes commercial trading market to Hearts Park adjacent to the Arts Centre in Accra.

According to them, these recalcitrant individuals tomato traders had been disobeying the mandatory tomatoes routine sale schedule, thereby using their power to embark on trip in other regions or neigbour countries like Burkina Faso and Togo to bring in full cartons of tomatoes to Accra Heats Park for sale.

This notwithstanding, they pleaded with the leaderships of AMA and KOKMA to help the Queen-mother of tomato traders in CMB, Naa Charity Otumfo l and executives of Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association to stop the practice of these miscreants tomato traders.

They pointed out that these are inhumane practices the traders had been exhibiting in their previous market centres like Mokola, CMB, Tudu Agbogbloshieand Kwasiadwaso before they moved to Hearts Park by the AMA and KOKMA in the wake of novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) pademic.

Their call on AMA and KOKMA to ensure the traders obey the mandatory routine tomatoes sale schedule has become necessary because the current move of these recalcitrant traders to team up with other tomato sellers from different regions to bring their produce down to the market centre of Accra Hearts Park to sell had made tomatoes become abundant in the market, get rotten within few days and are thrown away.

The leadership of the Association expressed these sentiments in an interview with Bizzygh.com on Tuesday May 12, 2020 when this news online portal visited the market to verify the authenticity of the series of complaints regarding the attitudes of some recalcitrant tomato traders.

According to them, they had officially reported the misconduct of these individual traders to AMA and KOKMA but its seems that these traders had still not been called to order, since they continued to exhibit their bad behaviours.

However, invetigations conducted by Bizzygh.com revealed that the leadership of the Association had indeed lodged complaint against Madam Grace Konu Ogboo and her associatess in the AMA and KOKMA, the two state institutions which gave the land where the traders are selling on in Accra Heats Park.

The distraught leadership of the Association cited the unfortunate circumstance where the full cartons of tomatoes got rotten and are thrown away on Saturday May 9, 2020 in Hearts Park due to abundant of the product in the market which situation has landed the affected traders into big debts.

“We want state that since the AMA and KOKMA care for the development of our tomatoes business by way of getting market centre for us to sell our products, we are pleading with these two state institutions to direct these individual traders including Madam Grace Konu Ogboo, Madam Adwoa Mansah, Madam Effuah Gyefua aka who is free and Mrs Christiana Adwoa Dede to go back to the Baba Alhassan aka Alayee station of where they are previously offoading their goods before they separated to form their own station which made them to also form their sprinter group in the market.

“This is because the action of these female traders who deal in bulk breaking of tomatoes in the Central Business District (CBD) of CMB who had been currently relocated to the Hearts Park was contrary to the mandatory routine tomatoes sale schedule which has been creating problem in the market and this needs to be changed immediately.

“We are appealing to AMA to help the Association to implement the preamble of the Understanding (MoU) the tomatoes traders of Accra Brewery/CMB under the umbrella body of the Association signed with the Assembly on March 2018 for the Assembly to support the Association regulates the tomatoes business in Accra Brewery/ CMB commercial trading market centre.

The preamble of MoU which was singed by the twelve executive members of Greater AccraTomato Traders and four executives of Ghana National Tomato Traders Association which is in possession of Bizzygh.com reads in part “The Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association executives shall at times coordinate with the National executives to manage affairs.

The eleven paragraphs of MoU stated that no tomatoes trader shall buy and discharge goods without the consent of both Greater Accra and National executives.

It maintained that any goods brought any tomatoes trading market centres without approval shall be seized and the offender be sanctioned accordinngly.

The preamble asserted that only accepted and approved schedule days shall become the working documents until further amendment/changes.

According to the preamble, no trader shall crisis cross any vehicle with authority from the executives and offenders shall be sanctioned.

It continued that any trader in financial difficulty shall fall only on the executives and not go in for credit from the growing farmers.

“That in default of paragraph 1 to 6 shall amount to expel, suspension, fine or prosecuted or combined,” it stressed.

It stated that the AMA shall prosecute any sanitary offenders at court.

But according to the leadership of the Association it seems like the AMA was generally dragging its feet to see to it that the sanity and peace prevail in the market,” they stated.

They noted that there are a lot of tomatoes commercial trading market centres in the Greater Accra Region but the only market centre that the traders were disobeying the routine tomatoes sale schedule was Accra Brewery/CMB which situation was adversely affecting tomatoes trading business in the market.

According to the leadership of the Association, some traders with the supreme support of the some self seeking officials in AMA and government continued disobey the mandatory routine tomatoes sale schedule.

“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 and KOKMA to allow only approved tomato loaded vehicles of the traders who are belong to the Association to be offloaded their vehicles to sell in Accra Hearts Park.

Some of the traders, they told this reporter had committed suicide due to their inability to pay loans they contracted from their banks to buy the tomatoes.

Traders at CMB, Agbogbloshie, Kaneshie, Makola, Tudu, Accra-Tema Lorry Park and Odorkor, all in Accra, who made these known in an interview with Today, lamented that the situation was very disturbing as they have been recording losses for the past three weeks.

They further disclosed that there was not a single tomato season that passes in Ghana without some traders committing suicide out of frustration.

The traders bemoaned the fact that “it has become an annual ritual.”

They subsequently appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to assist them to get better prices for their tomatoes.

Their worry was the fact that huge numbers of tomato traders in Accra who took loans from the banks to buy tomato did not have a ready market for their goods thereby resulting in huge losses.

They indicated that if immediate measures were not taken by 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.

They also asked government to create an avenue where there will always be a ready market for tomatoes.

Source :Bizzygh.com/Freeman Awlesu

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