The Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture is considering opening the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) market in the region only twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The Directorate says the low patronage since its introduction in the region will force some changes.
The Ministry introduced the initiative in the region as part of moves to decentralize it. But reports say the patronage has not been encouraging.
Speaking to Citi News, the Ashanti Regional Director of Agriculture, Rev. John Manu, said some changes will be made to the programme in the region.
“There were some challenges beyond our control. We were expecting some vehicles to be here early. So there are some lessons learnt. For instance, next Wednesday and Thursday, the goods we will be expecting will arrive the day before so that the food items will be readily available when customers come in early in the morning. This is the first time we are doing this exercise, so there will be challenges, but we will now be doing two days within the week from now until the end of the month.”
Earlier in November, the Ministry began the retailing of food items at its premises to civil and local government workers.
Many have criticized the move, describing it as a cost to the state.
But the sector minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto defended it, saying data gathered by the Ministry shows massive disparities between prices at the production areas and urban centres due to the costs involved in the agric value chain.
The ministry had to counter criticism that it is wasting taxpayers’ money with the carting and sale of cheap foodstuff at premises.
For instance, the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) accused the Ministry of abusing its power.
“You cannot use the ministry as a market to start with because by doing so, they are demobilizing other state institutions from operating,” the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union, Edward Kareweh, said to Citi News.
However, the ministry has already taken steps to replicate the market nationwide.