Some farmers and aggregators, also known as middle-men, in the Northern Region have refused to release maize unto the market, hoping to see prices increase before they do so, thereby, creating artificial shortage.
Observation made by the B&FT in various warehouses in the Tamale Metropolis, Sagnerigu Municipality, Savelugu, Walewale, and Yendi indicates the availability of the grain but the farmers are unwilling to sell them because they think the current prices are low, and the middle-men who purchase them stand to gain should they sell them now.
Checks from the Department of Agriculture in Tamale and the market indicate that prices of maize, especially, have declined from between GH¢220-180 to between GH¢170-150. Prices are further set to decline further as farmers have to clear the old stock to begin preparation towards the new season. However, some of the farmers feel it will be too much of a loss should they sell their products out this time to the middle-men, hence, the hoarding.
In Savelugu for example, some farmers who spoke to the paper but wants their identity anonymous confirmed they have several hundred bags of maize stored but are not ready to release them unto the market. One of them said he has about 400 bags of 100kg in storage; another farmer said he has 500 bags of the yellow maize stored; and another one also said he has 250 metric tonnes of the white maize in store.
Again, another farmer said he also has over 5,000 metric tons in storage at various warehouses in Tamale; and in Walewale, another farmer who is also a chief said he has over 700 bags of the 100kg.
Commenting on this, Northern Regional Assistant Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Department of Agriculture, Alhassan Abdul-Fatawu, in an interview with the B&FT said his outfit is in the known of the situation and efforts have been made to convince the farmers to shun from the behaviour, as it may lead to food shortage.
“Management is also in talks with the farmers and the aggregators to release the commodities to ensure abundance of food in the country,” he said.
He further appealed to the farmers and the aggregators to release the products unto the market as continuous hoarding of it can affect the economy of the region and by extension, the country.
He however warned that farmers who remain adamant in keeping the staple food will soon lose more than they are preventing, as the prices of foods in general are set to decline in the nearest future.