Access to market major challenge of agriculture — Dr Valentin Mensah
Dr Valentin Kwesi Mensah — Farmer and Chartered Accountant

Access to market major challenge of agriculture — Dr Valentin Mensah

The fight against food inflation will fail if the country does not put in place effective transport systems that will allow farmers to access markets faster and at cheaper rates, a farmer and chartered accountant, Dr Valentin Kwesi Mensah has said.


He said a major cause of high food inflation was the cost of transporting food items to markets and cities.

Rural farmers often face serious difficulties in accessing markets to sell their goods, as they are constrained by their remote location and high transport costs.

“Today, one tomato is selling for GH¢5 but the farm gate price may not even be up to 50 pesewas but by the time, it gets to Accra, the price has ballooned to GH¢5,” he said in an interview with the Graphic Business.

“The middlemen and the transporters are the ones making the money and not the farmers,” he said. He said if what was produced was transported to the markets effectively, then everybody would benefit; the farmer, the trader and the consumer.

Dr Mensah said reliable market access would boost productivity and increase the incomes of farmers.


For that to happen, Dr Mensah said the government must make investments in some critical infrastructure that facilitate the smooth transportation of food produce to markets and cities.

He called for investment in road infrastructure to link farm communities to the cities and effective railway networks.

“We should put in place the right infrastructure to boost market access. Once the market is developed, the farmer will produce as much as possible, sell and make a profit,” he said. 

Getting things right

He said the country should have tried to get things right in the sector right after independence.“We should have tried harder to get things right in the agriculture sector and start right. It wasn’t just about gaining power from the colonial master,” he stated.

Although he said it was not too late to get things right, he said this would require a strong leader.

“Our agriculture sector is yet to realise its full potential. It has served the country well since the colonial days, but we are yet to get the best out of the sector,” he stated.

He said that post-independence, with little attention, the country became the world’s number one producer of cocoa.

“Because of this, the government might have felt agriculture did not need much attention. It was contributing immensely to government revenue with little attention,” he said.

He said even though there were some attempts to modernise the sector, it has so far failed. “We set up state farms after independence but they were not successful.

The problem has been how the government should limit itself to its role and let the private sector do its own thing.

“It should just provide the enabling environment by facilitating the market and providing the necessary infrastructure so that the farmer after producing the good can easily sell and get the money back,” he said.

All year-round agriculture

Dr Mensah said the nature of the country’s agriculture sector, which is largely rain-fed was also not helpful. He said for the country to be food-sufficient and win the fight against food inflation, agriculture must be all year round.

This, he said, would require investments from the government in irrigational facilities. “Agriculture here is largely rain-fed and this is not good, we need investments in irrigation facilities,” he said.

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