Maize farmers call for standards in grain measurement
Maize farmers in the three regions which formed the erstwhile Brong Ahafo Region, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions, have called for measures to standardise the measurement of grains/cereal throughout the country to stop middlemen from cheating them so that they can reap maximum benefits from their sweat.
They said the current situation where buyers used the size five maxi sack, which could contain 135 kilogrammes of maize, instead of the size four sack (100 kilogrammes) continued to rob them of their profits and served as a disincentive for the youth to go into maize farming.
The Chairman of the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions Maize Growers’ Association, Nana Kwao Adams made the call at a day’s BUSAC Funded sensitisation meeting organised by the Centre for Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), for selected members of the association at Techiman.
It was held on the theme, “Technical advocacy for the use of standardised scale in grain/cereal buying’’.
Nana Adams said it was unfortunate that grains/cereals farmers had been left to the mercy of middlemen over the years without any serious effort to standardise the measuring of these commodities for sale.
“The former Brong Ahafo Region is noted for the cultivation of maize, yet farmers continue to wallow in poverty while the business of middlemen who buy our produce continue to flourish at our expense”, he stated and called for an end to what he described as “naked robbery”.
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Addressing the meeting, a researcher and Lecturer at the University for Development Studies, Dr John Akparep, urged the government not only to standardise the measurement of grains but also provide enough resources and silos to the Ghana Food Buffer Company.
That, according to him, would enable the company to compete with the various buyers of maize and other commodities so that farmers would not be compelled to sell their produce cheap.
Dr Akpareb called on the government to provide loans and other incentives to grains and cereal farmers to provide them the needed financial resources that would enable them to wait till they obtain favourable prices for their grains before selling them to buyers.
Contributing to the ensuing discussions, participants blamed successive governments for failing to come out with a legislation that would compel buyers and sellers of grains and cereals to use weighing scales for the measurement of these commodities.
A maize farmer from Tuobodom, Baafuor Afrifa, said although tomato buyers were using huge boxes to buy the commodity, they had now accepted to use a standard box due to constant agitation by tomato farmers.
He called for unity among maize farmers and urged them to refuse to sell their produce to buyers who would use unacceptable means to cheat them.
The Executive Director of COPIO, Mr Mustapha Yeboah, said his organisation would continue its advocacy to ensure that farmers were offered best prices for their produce to enhance their living conditions.