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Maize sellers in Sissala stranded, unable to find market

Accra: Maize sellers in the Sissala area of the Upper West Region are crying for buyers of their produce weeks after harvest, with all known off-takers not in sight, forcing them to sell at lower-than-expected prices.

This came to light when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) interviewed some maize sellers who have been unable to sell their stock whilst those in dire need are being forced to sell at prices below the standardized ones.

Alhaji Maize Adinan Bajin, a maize dealer, said in December 2023, a bag of maize was sold at GHS370.00, went down to GHS365.00, later to GHS320.00 and currently being sold at GHS300.00.

In the past, after Christmas, a lot of buyers went to the Sissala area to buy maize but the prevailing situation had been different as there were no buyers, leaving the space for only one company to buy at a reduced price.

‘We can’t get buyers and as farmers, we need to sell and clear our new fields, buy fertilizer and prepare our new fields, but we are at a standstill and stranded,’ Alhaji Bajin sa

‘More challenged are the smallholder farmers and women who are having difficulty selling their maize due to the fewer buyers.’

‘Looking at the amount of inputs that were used in producing the maize, it’s now difficult to break even, and this could make us indebted to our suppliers.’

He said he currently has 5,000 mini bags of maize that he had not been able to sell and called on the Government to intervene by regulating the price as they feared reducing their farm sizes next season if there was no support.

A woman maize farmer said: ‘I had to carry my two Maize bags to the WARC shop, a maize aggregation company, to sell but I was told I would receive my money the following day since the company`s mode of payment was mobile money and that had to be done next day’.

‘A few years ago buyers would trace to my house and even buy the maize and pay me cash, this situation is affecting us.’

Mr Nabong Ayie, a farmer, said: ‘I have tried selling 2000 bags for the past two weeks and nobody is calling to buy, I
need money badly to do other things and now I have to wait until a buyer calls’.

Mr John Dimah, a former National Best Maize Farmer, bemoaned the absence of buyers, saying:,’This year we are stranded, I still have some 15,000 mini bags of maize unsold hoping to get a buyer’.

He blamed the situation on the disturbances around the Sahelian region, the good season from the Middle belt of Ghana, the possible influx of foreign maize flooding the market.

He called on farmers to diversify farming to other crops like sorghum, sesame, and soya bean.

The WARC is the only company currently buying maize in the Sissala area where the price of maize has dropped from GHS370.00 in December last year to Ghc300.00 per 100kg bag currently.

It has employed some 70 women aggregating maize at various communities at a price most farmers felt cheated by due to the lack of competitors.

However, the Company has plans to buy about 600,000 bags of maize.

Mr Samuel Akuetteh, a Municipal Officer in charge of Crops said the Departme
nt of Agriculture was aware of the situation and had created market linkages to enable smallholder farmers could sell their produce.

Source: Ghana News Agency