The Nkoranza South Municipality and Nkoranza North District of the Bono East Region are well known for the cultivation of watermelons.
In the April, May and June period when watermelon farmers in these areas harvest their produce, you can find heaps of the spherical fruits gathered by the roadside waiting for trucks to cart them to marketing centres such as Techiman, Sunyani, Kumasi, Tamale, Wa, Bolgatanga and other places in the country.
However, one place where you can find retailers displaying and selling watermelon to travellers is Akumsa Domase located near Nkoranza on the Nkoranza-Techiman road.
Notwithstanding the popularity of the Akumsa Domase watermelon sales joint, there are no structures for the sellers to display their items.
They only display the fruits on the bare ground and when a vehicle makes a stop, the sellers pick one or two in their hands and appeal to the passengers to buy from them.
Ms Joyce Anima, 37, and Ms Cynthia Sarpomaa, 36, are two of the roadside watermelon retailers who have been in this business for a considerable number of years.
For them, although there had been ups and downs over the years, the sale of watermelon had been their main source of livelihood.
“I have been in this business for the past 18 years and I always look forward to the watermelon season to make some income to cater for the needs of my children,” Sarpomaa told the Daily Graphic.
“Currently, every watermelon farmer is harvesting his crop and you can find the commodity in every corner of the area. In such situations, the price of watermelon falls to the barest minimum while it becomes even difficult to get buyers,” she stated.
For her part, Ms Anima called on the Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly to construct a permanent structure for the sellers to hygienically display their fruits.
“While watermelon is the main fruit which is known to be sold here, once they are out of season and only few farmers who farm all year round can get us supply, we shift our focus to other fruits such as mangoes, avocado and anything that we can lay our hands-on in order to be in business,” she stated.
Ms Anima wondered why the government had not established any factory in the area to process watermelon to enable the farmers to fully enjoy from the sweat of their labour.
“Currently you can buy a big ball of watermelon for as low as GH¢3 from this joint. How much profit can a farmer get if the price goes down like this even in the hands of us the retailers?” she questioned.
“We hope the government will develop a watermelon value chain for us to derive the maximum benefits from the crop which has become synonymous with this area,” Ms Anima said.
Source: General News