By Nicholas Osei-Wusu
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has upscaled its pilot ‘PFJ Market’ to the Ashanti Region, with Day One of the Kumasi event fraught with some challenges.
Correspondent Nicholas Osei-Wusu reports that the main farm produce to serve patrons, plantains, were brought to Kumasi after 6 p.m. instead of the advertised starting time of 9.30 a.m.
The organisers have admitted to the lapses and assured of making amends in subsequent editions. Meanwhile, the plantains will be on sale today, Friday, November 25, 2022, at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi.
The expansion of the ‘PFJ Market’ from the national capital to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, which is the first beneficiary region after Greater Accra, follows the relative success and high patronage of the initiative. The Ashanti version, held at Jubilee Park, formerly Jackson’s Park, was scheduled to start at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, November 24. Even though a handful of interested residents had thronged the improvised market center by 8 a.m. from various parts of the region, it was not until midday before some of the anticipated and advertised produce would be made available. Among the food items that were supposed to be up for sale were cassava, yam, plantain, assorted fish-fresh and smoked fish, vegetables, and locally produced rice. But to the disappointment of some of the patrons, even at the late start of the sales, only few of these farm stuff were available.
Meanwhile, some patrons left the sales point in disappointment because, according to them, the pilot market did not meet their expectations. What appeared more disappointing to most of them was the non-availability of their preferred items, especially yam, plantain, and cassava, which had still not been brought as at 2 p.m., despite the numerous assurances by the organizers. Some of the patrons shared their impressions about day one of the initiative.
The Ashanti Regional Director of Agriculture, Reverend John Manu, shared in the disappointment of the patrons and assured that the initiative will continue until the end of the year with much improvement.
The Regional Agricultural Director explained that the initiative is to control the prices of food items on the open market.
The truckload of plantain carted from Agogo in the Asante Akyem North District of Ashanti, which was said to have set off at 9 a.m. for sale to members of the public, eventually came in after 6 p.m. and was kept safe at the regional offices of Agriculture to be sold out on Friday, November 25, 2022, at Jubilee Park in Kumasi.