Large quantities of watermelons are rotting away in the north-eastern regions of Ghana due to a lack of storage facilities and access to ready markets. 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 reporters last week revealed heaps of the watermelon meant to attract buyers along the Nalerigu/Bunkpurugu road but which rotting, while other farmers gave out the fruits to commuters for free.
A farmer at Buguya in the West Mamprusi municipality who cultivated about five acres of watermelon but could not get buyers, said: “…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 claimed that all his investment including money for ploughing and purchasing of chemicals, had gone to waste.
Reacting to the development, the East Mamprusi Municipal Director of Agriculture, 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 watermelons 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.”