Vegetables sellers in the Techiman Market, one of the biggest food markets in the West African sub-region, have been advised against displaying their goods on the bare floor to avoid selling contaminated products to their customers.
The Chief of Kenten and the Dabehene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Nana Boasiako Antwi, who gave the advice, expressed his disappointment with the poor attitude to sanitation by the cabbage and carrot sellers in the market and, therefore, summoned them to appear before the traditional council yesterday.
“We cannot buy from such a filthy area and the Techiman Traditional Council will continue to work with stakeholders to keep the market clean and save the people from cholera and other diseases associated with contaminated water and filth,” he stated as he led a Graphic/Zoomlion clean-up exercise last Saturday.
Even though the official Techiman Market Day is Friday, people throng this sprawling market from Monday to Friday to either sell or buy something. In view of that one can now not distinguish between an ordinary day and the market day, since besides Saturdays and Sundays, the market is always full of buyers and sellers.
It was, therefore, not surprising that stakeholders who patronised the clean-up exercise organised to round off a sanitation dialogue in the Bono East Region, came face to face with filth in the market, while the traders continued to shout to advertise their goods.
At the market, it was seen that vegetables such as cabbage and carrots, that could be eaten in their raw state, were displayed in the mud with flies and all sorts of harmful insects hovering over them with obvious adverse health implications to the consumer.
Checks by the Daily Graphic showed that it is, however, the daily practice in the Techiman Market notwithstanding warnings from the queen responsible for the cabbage sellers in the market, Madam Mary Takyiwaa, and her executives.
She told the Daily Graphic “I have done what I can but they are not heeding to my advice because they think that nobody has given them any seed money to trade. You can, therefore, arrest those who are selling in filth or seize their goods to serve as a lesson for others.”
For more than four hours, stakeholders, who included personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the Ghana Police Service, Zoomlion Ghana Limited who were joined by some of the market women, among others, moved from one corner of the market to the other to clear piled-up filth.
At the cassava sellers’ zone, a tricycle rider who was offloading cassava was compelled by the security officials against his wish to take part in the exercise.
Addressing the traders, Nana Boasiako advised them to erect platforms and display their goods on them instead of displaying them on the bare floor where such goods came into contact with filth including faecal matter.
“I have come here to take part in the clean-up exercise and to advise you to keep your surroundings clean,” he stated, and warned that in his subsequent visits “I will be compelled to seize vegetables displayed on the bare floor.”
He added that besides clean-up campaigns and education, the traditional authority would use its Apuor Festival to name and shame people who trade in filth as a way to compel them to change their negative attitudes towards sanitation.
Beef in taxis
As if the displaying of the cabbage and carrot in the mud was not enough, when the Graphic /Zoomlion team and Nana Boasiako were leaving the market, they came face-to-face with beef packed in Tico taxis being conveyed to the market for sale to customers.
If the beef could be sent to the market in such dilapidated and filthy taxis, then one will not be far from right to assume that these animals were slaughtered in an equally filthy environment, Mavis Kyerewaa, a member of the Graphic Sanitation team remarked.
Indeed, it is a fact that the Techiman Market plays an important role in the economy of the Bono East Region and beyond. So everything should be done to enable both sellers and buyers to conduct their businesses in a clean environment.