Ho Asigame, centre of attraction on market days

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
 A bird's eye view of a section of the market
A bird's eye view of a section of the market

The Volta Region, like any other region in Ghana, is well endowed with market centres scattered across the area for farmers, traders, businessmen and women to sell their goods and farm products in order to make a living.

There are notable big markets designated mainly for trade in specific goods in the region.

Dzemeni in the South Dayi District and Kpando Torkor markets, for instance, are noted as huge fish markets for traders who sell different types of fish in the fresh, smoked, dried and fried states, caught mostly from the Volta Lake.

At the Anloga market, fish such as gbovilolo, tuna and mackerel are in abundance. So are onions and shallots.

The Kpeve (South Dayi), Kpedze (Ho West) and Denu (Ketu South) markets also play host to vegetable and food crop farmers.

With palm oil, one cannot miss the Dzolo areas such as Dzolo Gbogame, Dzolopuita (Ho West) and Dzodze (Ketu North).

Moreover, markets at Mafi Kumase (Central Tongu), Ehi and Dzodze Penyi (Ketu-North) come to mind when one is looking for gari, while the Aveyime, Afife and Weta areas are designated hubs for rice.

Ho Central Market

One of the biggest trading centres in the region is the Ho Central Market, popularly known as ‘Ho Asigame’ (Ho big market). This market serves as a source of livelihood for many communities in the Volta Region.

Every fourth day after a market day comes the next market day. If the market day falls on a Monday, for instance, then Friday becomes the next market day. It serves traders from farming and fishing communities such as Adidome, Tsito- Awudome, Kpedze, Abutia, Kete Krachi, Dambai and its surrounding towns, such as Hohoe, Keta and Aflao.

Certain towns in the Eastern Region and even in neighbouring Togo patronise the market with goods such as corn, beans, fish, charcoal and cloths, among other merchandise.

History has it that the market was first located at the Ho Civic Centre but was moved to its current location in the early 1970s. Before that time, every day was a market day.

Unfortunately, however, market women or traders who came to sell their goods did not have sufficient time to prepare for the following day, hence the introduction of the four-day interval market days.

Centre of attraction

The Ho market is a centre of attraction on market days, as it becomes densely populated with food and people from all walks of life, with several displays of food stuff including vegetables, fish, food stuffs, palm oil, corn dough, groundnut paste, yam, cloths, beads and charcoal, among others, in large quantities and at very affordable prices, unlike the normal days.

Food products such as garden eggs, palm nut, okra, groundnuts, pepper, corn, cassava, onions, oil palm, cocoyam and plantain are the cheapest commodities on sale at the market.

Market days are very busy periods for the capital city and mostly the only time it experiences some slow and huge traffic.

Traders from far and near visit the market to buy goods in bulk for retailing while individuals also purchase in bulk to last them till the next market day.

Ms Mawufemo Dogbevie, a trader at the market, observed that business becomes stagnant on a normal day, but is different on market days, the only time that she is able to make enough money.

Drivers cash in

The Ho market days do not only benefit traders or buyers but drivers as well, as they are at their busiest in order to cash in and increase sales.

Drivers in Ho regard market days as their "pay day" because they are able to make more than thrice the amount they make on normal days.

Drivers would not hesitate to leave behind an individual stranded should there be any delay in boarding their vehicles. And they as sure as daylight remind those passengers that “today is market day, no time to waste.”

A driver from Kpassa, who loads yam to Ho on market days, Mr John Amenya, said it had always been a good day for him on market days as he doubled his income from GH¢500 to GH¢1,000.

A taxi driver in the Ho municipality, Mr Korku Hornya, said "I am always happy on a market day because I know I will get passengers and load more goods to get more money.