The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana is lamenting the over 100% increase in the cost of exporting their produce due to the restricted movement caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The over 500 member association Association says though cargo flights are allowed to operate, it is taking a toll on their operations compelling some of them to cut down labour to offset the rise in operating cost.
The President of the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Felix Kamassah, explained to Citi Business News that the cost of freight has since the closure of Ghana’s borders to passenger flights, increased from 1 dollar 10 cents to 2 dollars 70 cents.
“The cost of freight is very expensive as we now pay $2.10 compared to the $1.70 we used to pay before. To some extent, the cost of freight can be as much as $3 depending on the destination of your produce,” he observed.
The Association has already presented a petition to the Presidency seeking the provision of special cargo flights to convey their produce such as okro and marrow.
Also, domestic off-takers of vegetables, mostly hotels, restaurants and other large shopping malls have reduced their purchase by about fifty percent, a situation Mr. Kamassah says is also having a toll on its members.
“There is a hotel I particularly supply which has reduced the quantity they take because the issue has affected the tourism sector. They tell me that since they are not sure of patronage, they cannot stock more than necessary. This situation affects we the producers as well as the tourism industry players.”
Meanwhile, Citi Business News understands that some vegetable producers have had to lay off workers to make up for the shortfall in revenue, while operating cost remains to be dealt with.
“I know one pack house which has had to lay off workers because most of them are casual workers. If the exports are not going on, then there is no need to keep the workers and continue to pay them,” Mr. Kamassah further emphasized.
For these vegetable producers, any intervention to lessen their plight need not delay any further.