Story by REJOICE DOGBER
On Saturday 21st April 2018, I decided to tour Madina market to have a feel of what goes on during such market hours. After paying 1cedi 80pesewas from my destination, I finally got to Madina.
Huge and wide was the high way with ‘no pedestrian crossing area or walk way’, well, 100 meters was my speed for crossing the high way. Meeting and bypassing the crowd, I joined the ‘moving train’ to enter the market properly. I admit, it was difficult walking through the market with an eye saw ‘human traffic’, but it was still a decision I took hence I accomplished my mission.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes and shoes, bags and accessories among others are just to mention but a few things a chanced upon. Moving round and round, walking through the vegetable section, there was always this red coloured vegetable nicely arranged in fours, reflecting the beauty of colour. With the botanical name ‘Lycopersicon esculentum’, it is locally called tomatoes and it comes in various grades, these include; Lindo, Rio Grande, Jaguar, Titao Derma and others.
The vegetable which is seed planted, grows better under specific conditions and can either be used raw or cooked and has several benefits which include; source of vitamin A, B6, C, E,K, source of copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, Phosphorus, controls heart rate with its potassium content, prevents eye diseases with its vitamin content, with the punch of minerals and nutrients, saves the body from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, strengthens teeth and bones with its calcium content, less fat, cell repair and muscle building, prevents blood clots, boost immunity among other benefits.
I ever heard a story of tomatoes being used for skin treatment, I was curious and in a hast to find out how true it is. Indeed, tomatoes used, treats open pores, glows your skin, prevents sign of aging, acts as a natural sunscreen, acts as a stress reliever, fights cellular damage, smoothens skin, remove dead skin cells and more. But there was one which amazed me, tomato is used as a natural bleaching agent, well I was wondering if people had an idea of this property and still result in using chemicals.
More interesting about tomato is its hair benefits. Did you know that tomato can fight hair loss, condition hair, treat dry hair, clears hair stains, treat dandruff and itchy scalp and others? Well that is truly to me a natural chemical.
Let’s come back to find out what we use tomatoes for in our homes. That fine tomato stew which can be served with something of your choice, not forgetting the mouthwatering salad with tomatoes, the desiring taste of roasted tomatoes, and the tomato soup among others. Either tin, pack, can, bottle and what have you, tomatoes are still tomatoes. Ask yourself how many dishes you have prepared without adding tomatoes, there is most often than not the need to add that sour reddish vegetable called tomatoes to complete the work.
Enough of the education, let’s go back to the market. I approached few tomato sellers to seek for the price of their arranged commodity and to my amusement, three pieces of tomatoes cost 2 Ghana Cedis. Considering the benefits derived from tomatoes, the price is fine but to the locals, it is expensive to purchase four pieces of tomatoes at that amount.
Speaking to the traders who shared similar views, they said; “tomatoes are seasonal products, hence the prices turn to vary per season. Sometimes it becomes so common and decays even before we get to the market, but the main problem we face as tomato sellers are ‘the use of chemicals to grow and harvest the crop’, this reduces the life span and also changes the taste and of the natural crop. ‘The duty paid and transport fares’ even though Ghana seems to be an agriculture built economy, we still travel all the way to Burkina Faso to buy tomatoes. We the traders are made to believe that farmers in Ghana as at now, can’t supply the country enough tomatoes and that is not so helpful.
Transporting the crop from Burkina Faso to Accra is not easy at all, with the expensive duty we pay and the high cost incurred in transport fares, we unfortunately return only to find out we have most of the tomatoes rotten and we can’t run at a lost either. Most of us are also selling based on ‘bank loans’ and we have to pay regardless”.
Other interesting comments also came up during this interview, some traders blamed the ‘economy’ and the ‘government’ for the rise in price of the commodity but I was wondering what could trigger that, is it true, emotional talk, bad market talk or political talk? I believe they have their own reasons hidden somewhere in their hearts which couldn’t come out even when I pressed for answers.
Ghana Matters.com, considers issues that matter to you and would want to know, what is the actual reason behind the increase in tomato prices, why traders would have to travel to another country to purchase the crop, why farmers consider the use of fertilizers for their crops and even why the locals cannot accept the rising price of tomatoes.
If the government is pushing for the youth to be involved in agriculture, with a sound Agriculture Ministry, I would want to believe that some issues of buying food crops from other countries would end even sooner than expected.
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