GHANA – The retail prices of tomatoes in Ghana are refusing to budge, holding firm despite a significant drop in wholesale prices since the third quarter of 2023.

Although the wholesale price for a box of tomatoes imported from Burkina Faso plummeted by 43 percent from GHS 3,000 (USD 249.98) in Q2-2023 to GHS 1,700 (USD 141.99) in Q3-2023, and a similar decrease of 47 percent occurred for locally produced tomatoes (from GHS 1,500 to GHS 800 (USD 124.99 – 66.66)), consumers are yet to see the impact in their pockets. As of January 2024, retail prices have shown no signs of decline.

Consumers in Accra have expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, as the price of a small paint-bucket of local tomatoes remains at GHS 30 (USD 2.50), while the imported counterpart is priced at GHS 60 (USD 5.00) – the same rates observed before the wholesale price drop.

Despite an abundance of tomatoes in the market, retailers are hesitant to lower prices, citing the continued high cost of procurement.

Hagar Asante, a tomato retailer at the Agbogloshie Millenium Market, representing the market’s queen mother, Mabel Adedevor, explained the retailers’ perspective.

She stated, “In spite of the drop, we still consider current wholesale prices of the commodity – both local and imported – exorbitant; which is why we have not reduced our retail prices.”

The decision, although impacting customer patronage, is seen as necessary for the retailers to maintain their business viability.

Ms. Asante acknowledged the challenges faced by tomato retailers, noting that some traders have diversified into other businesses due to dwindling profit margins.

She urged the government to address infrastructure issues such as road conditions and drainage systems to improve market accessibility and prevent flooding during the rainy season.

While appealing for government intervention, she also encouraged local farmers to adopt efficient farming practices to compete with Burkina Faso’s imports. “Scarcity of the commodity leads to a hike in prices. To avert this, there is a need for those in authority to give farmers the necessary help to produce all-year-round,” Ms. Asante advocated.

Sarah Boateng, a tomato consumer, expressed frustration, saying, “The traders must reduce their price. It is unfair for them to sell it to us at the old price when wholesale prices have dropped.”

A study by the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana reveals that Ghana’s fresh tomato demand is approximately 2.7 million MT/annum, with an estimated market size exceeding USD537.5 million if the country were to meet all its consumption needs locally.

Despite the lucrative nature of tomato farming in Ghana, challenges such as poor farming practices and inadequate storage and transport infrastructure persist, hindering the industry’s growth.

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