Three markets in the Gomoa West and Ekumfi districts in the Central Region constructed some decades ago have been abandoned by traders for various reasons.
The Gomoa Kyirenkwanta Market in the Gomoa West District Assembly and the Ekumfi Esuehyia Market in the Ekumfi District Assembly have been in existence for about 40 years, but have virtually been deserted partly due to their locations.
Constructed almost 20 years ago at Apam Junction on the Winneba-Cape Coast Highway in the Gomoa West District, the Ankamu Market has also been forsaken for all these years, leaving the place to rot.
The situation has compelled some of the traders to sell their foodstuff on the streets in those areas.
The Kyirenkwanta market is gradually turning into a refuse dump
Visits by The Mirror to all three markets confirmed that all but the Gomoa Ankamu Market was strategically located, just by the roadside.
The Kyirenkwanta and Esuehyia markets are metres away from the roadside, a situation traders say does not favour them, leading to traders resorting to trading by the roadside.
On the other hand, the Kyirenkwanta Market and its environs have been overtaken by weeds, which make it entirely impossible for a first timer to locate the place.
Some stalls at the Kyirenkwanta market overgrown by weeds
It was even difficult for The Mirror team to believe that the place was a market because some of the structures were in deplorable state and overgrown by weeds, while a section was being used as a refuse dump by residents.
Meanwhile, a mentally challenged man had also converted a portion into a place of adobe where he does everything, from cooking to washing and sleeping in addition to hoarding all manner of dirty items.
A former Assemblyman in the area, Mr Nicholas Sam, told The Mirror that a section of the market was only used on Wednesdays by market women on market days from different communities, “but those here are not willing to use it due to the condition so we usually have to go to the nearby communities to buy our foodstuff”.
Mr Bismark Baisie Nkum is the DCE of Gomoa West.
At the Esuehyia Market, it was realised that only one shed had been built as a market, but it was not in use.
A lot of makeshift structures had been erected at various points for use by traders from nearby communities on market days.
“Past Members of Parliament (MPs) have promised to put up a storey building here, but we are yet to see that materialise. In fact, the market is not in good shape,” Mr Kojo Sam, a tailor, told The Mirror.
“Politicians only take advantage of us during election and talk big, but they are not able to back their words with actions after voting for them; it’s really pathetic for us the people of Ekumfi,” Mr Sam noted.
The Ankamu Market is an Urban, Poverty Reduction Programme (UPRP) under the Social Investment Fund (SIF) Project.
Unlike some months ago where weeds and reptiles had made the market their place of abode, the situation had changed slightly as at the time of the visit.
The place had been weeded, making the stores which hitherto were hidden in the weeds more visible now.
Occupying about four acres of land, the Ankamu Market has five different sheds, a Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) office, two school blocks which are currently in use by a private school, lockable shops, a Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP), two separate rooms for storage by the market women, an abattoir, five containers and a kiosk.
Some portions of the Ankamu market after it was weeded.
In an interview, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Gomoa West District Assembly, Mr Bismark Baisie Nkum, admitted that there had been various attempts by past DCEs to compel the market women at Ankamu to use the new facility, but all to no avail.
“I think the reason for this is that there were not enough consultations before the facility was constructed, which explains why the women are rejecting it.
“So we have started a rigorous campaign of bringing all the stakeholders on board, and that is yielding good results,” he stated.
Mr Nkum indicated that various strategies had been adopted, including setting up a committee to see how to maximise the potentials from the market and renovating the market to woo the market women and the taxi drivers to the area, since they were the key stakeholders.
“The assembly has also met the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to relocate the station and bus stop from Apam Junction to the new market, so that attention can be shifted over there.
“A new office has also been given to the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) at the new market to give soft loans to the market women who will use the facility,” he said, adding that: “These are all strategies to make the place attractive.”
Mr Nkum emphasised that the market would officially be opened again by March this year, and expressed optimism that it would not be rejected this time around, noting that there were plans to expand the market since there was a vast land allocated for the market.
In the meantime, he added that the assembly was also working assiduously to renovate all the other markets, including that of Kyirenkwanta within the shortest possible time.