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Wheat prices fall in key markets

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The price of wheat (grain) fell significantly in the week ended February 4, and together with the drop in the prices of other commodities, forced down a significant drop in the Esoko Ghana Commodity Index, at both retail and wholesale levels. The price of the commodity averaged GHS2.13 a kilo in the week ended February 4 in wholesale trading, compared to the previous week's closing price of GHS2.30.

In the retail market, the commodity traded at an average price of GHS2.36 a kilo in the markets covered by Esoko. The previous week's average closing price was GHS2.53.

However, Esoko market watchers reported that the drop in the price of wheat was not “significantly noticed” since wheat has not been particularly popular in some markets. The general story of the market, in terms of the dynamics and price movements has been a very familiar one; tomato continues to dominate the commodities with the most noticeable price swings from week to week.

Tomato farmers in the Upper East region are up in arms; unhappy about the way they are treated by the market queens especially, accusing them of price fixing to squeeze them out of profits. The general feeling is that the market queens, who are mostly the women with the cash to buy produce are buying produce from Burkina Faso, and therefore are unwilling to buy from local producers or will only do so by offering a much lower price than what the market price should be. The farmers are of the view that if the trend continues, soon, “ there will be tomato shortages across the country”.

Monitored prices of tomato also showed a significant price drop from the closing prices of last week. Prices in the Kumasi Central market dipped by 10 per cent at both wholesale and retail levels, decreasing from GHS 1.92 a kilo and GHS 2.22 a kilo the previous week to GHS 1.73 and GHS2.00 respectively in the week under review.

In the Techiman market, wholesale and retail prices dropped significantly from GHS 1.10 and GHS1.25 a kilo to GHS 0.65 and GHS 0.70 in the week ended, registering 41 per cent and 44 per cent drop respectively.

“ The price of tomato has been a great worry for several months in key markets. Farmers in the Volta region were the first, in the last quarter of last year, to complain about the lack of market access for their produce. Now, the story is no different. Farmers in the Upper West region are complaining bitterly about the lack of market for their harvested produce is also a source of significant worry. The perishable nature of their produce means that in order to avoid post-harvest losses, they literally have to give the produce away cheaply. This seems to be happening week after week, accounting for the volatile nature of tomato prices today”, Esoko market watchers reported.

The Esoko Ghana Commodity Index –Retail (EGCI-R) closed the week at 3359 points, from the previous week's closing of 3819 points, with the wholesale index (EGCI-W) closing the week at 1782 points, from the previous week's closing of 2327 points.

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