Gari traders in Koforidua struggle as cassava shortage pushes up prices 

The gari market in Koforidua is reeling from a severe shortage of cassava, leading to a sharp hike in prices. 

 This is sending shockwaves through the industry, leaving gari traders struggling to make ends meet. 

The traders/operators suffered poor sales last month due to a substantial price hike triggered by a shortage of cassava, a market survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency in the second quarter of 2024 has revealed. 

The decline in cassava supply has largely been attributed to farmers shifting their focus to other crops, leading to a scarcity of root vegetable. 

Ms Comfort Boateng, a gari trader, told the GNA that sales slowed down from April to June due to the price hike. 

She attributed the decline in sales to cassava farmers’ decision to shift from producing the crop to growing garden eggs and okra instead. 

Ms Boateng said many cassava farmers had switched to producing garden eggs and okra, adding: ‘We are in the season of garden eggs and okra cultivation, so most cassava farmers are now fa
rming garden eggs and okra.’ 

 ‘This has made the supply of gari reduce leading to price increment,’ he said. 

 She noted that they had previously relied on senior high school students, who were compelled to purchase gari to support their school meals, but sales from that market was also dwindling. 

 The market survey found that the price of a 20kg blue bucket upped from GhS38 in May to GhS45 in June.  

The price of a-one kilogramme weight of gari (olonka) has also shot up from GhS35 to GhS40, while a margarine cup has increased from GhS5.00 to GhS6.00. 

 Madam Abena Mansah, a gari processor, in her 60s, noted that despite Ghana being a major producer of gari, the selling price continued to rise due to the increasing costs of other commodities.  

 ‘These days things are expensive, so we also have to increase the price of Gari. The firewood we buy to fry the milled cassava is expensive now.’  

 ‘Processing Gari is a tedious work to do and selling it at a cheaper price in this economic crisis where price
s of every commodity are on the increase will be a loss to us.’ 

 She appealed to the government to provide farmers with the necessary farming equipment, such as tractors and cutlasses, and farm supplies, particularly for cassava, at  subsidised rates to sustain gari production. 

Gari, a staple food made from cassava, has been a popular choice for many people in Ghana and beyond due to its affordability and ease of preparation.  

As one of the cheapest food products on the market, it is a common item purchased by students in boarding houses, households, and many institutions such as the prisons. 

From a nutritional perspective, research conducted by Adunga Bayata of the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre reveals that gari is a good source of carbohydrate, protein, calories, potassium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C, ash, and fat. 

Source: Ghana News Agency