By: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji
The effect of Covid-19 on farming across the length of breadth of the country is enormous and Malom foods is no exception.
A visit by agrighanaonline.com to Malom foods shows that although work on the farm is on-going and Covid-19 preventive measures put in place, the impact of Covid could be felt. Workers are now running shifts, sales of farm produce have reduced drastically and one major activity which is the eye of attraction at Malom Foods is missing. That’s the hosting of barbeque and a restaurant on the farm.
The barbeque on the farm is organized once a month and it attracts a lot of patrons from all walks of life especially from the urban areas. Patrons are thrilled with charcoal-grilled meat, special grasscutter, fish, pork, and goat meat soups served with fufu. They are also served with varieties of food and natural drinks. Most of the ingredients for the barbeque is from the farm.
Apart from the natural and delicious meal prepared during the barbeque, patrons are also taking through basics gardening or farming, where they get to learn more about several herbs and other plants on the farm.
According to the Chief Executive of Malom Foods, Mercy Lomo, the concept of learning about farming and other plants plus the fun bit has attracted a lot of events to the farm where people celebrating their birthdays, school reunions, private wedding all come to do that on the farm but with Covid the space for such a gathering on the farm looks deserted.
“The whole process is that we eat a lot of barbequed food, so what we decided to do is that once a month, we create a place where we expose people to the farm, to know more about gardening and Just for people to see what the various types of herbs and vegetable they see on the markets and shops look on the farm. People come from Accra and other urban centres and we cook the food that we grow here on the farm like the vegetables etc, but with the Coronavirus that concept of bringing people from all walks of life to have fun and also to generate revenue obviously stopped.”
How the farm can be lively with guests during a barbeque.
She stated that all these special activities on the farm are on hold and that the farm does not have plans to run it now even with the easing of restrictions because of the high overheads and people being more careful with regards to movement which will intend affect patronage. “So for now we just barbeque and sell the produce by order,” she posited.
Mrs. Lomo added that another major effect of the Covid-19 has been financial as sales have reduced drastically. “Though the shops are still purchasing, Covid has definitely slowed business especially with the protocols at the supermarkets. In the beginning when there was a rush for food, sales went rocket high but now sales have gone down. The markets are flooded because the hotels are not buying, schools are not buying, so this has also reduced sales.”
Due to the effect on sales, the workforce on the farm has been cut as the remaining farmhands run shifts instead of their regular duties on the farm.
Though the staff strength of the farmhands has reduced, Mrs. Lomo tells agrighanaonline.com that overheads still remains the same. “We still need the same water to water the plants, the same electricity and power and the same transport to transport produced to low sales shops. ”she said. This according to her is the major challenge.
She was thankful to GIZ for providing PPE’s to help in the fight against COVID-19 on the farms.