Shortage of Onions, Tomatoes Imminent
…As Burkina Faso, Others Meet To Decide Fate Of Ghanaian Traders
Ghanaian traders who import vegetables like onions and tomatoes, as well as livestock among others from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have to brace themselves up for what is ahead, following news that their activities may in the coming weeks suffer from a major decision.
According to the Burkina Faso military leader, Ibrahim Traoré, he is readying himself to consult with his colleagues in Mali and Niger on whether to allow Ghana to continue to do business with them.
If the seemingly bad news by Ibrahim Traoré is anything to go by, other trading partners in the West African sub-region would also be affected.
Ghana currently imports from Burkina Faso and in 2019 it was US$115.59 million, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
In a recent interview, the Burkinabe leader said, a final determination would be made on the matter as consultation would first have to be made by leaders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
While explaining that the three countries remain pan-African and welcome any African that wants to come to Burkina Faso, Traoré noted that they will decide on traders that will come from Ghana, Nigeria and others.
“We remain pan-African. Anyone in Africa or an African who wants to come to Burkina, is welcomed. We will decide what measures to take in due course regarding traders coming from Ghana, Nigeria and other West African countries),” he said.
His pronouncement follows the January 28 exit from the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) by the three countries.
In a joint statement, the three countries accused ECOWAS of becoming a threat to its members, of being “under the influence of foreign powers,” and of betraying its founding principles.
They also accused the regional body of failing to support their fight against “terrorism and insecurity,” while imposing “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions” following military coups.
Ghana, for decades, has been importing produce, including vegetable (eg, onions, tomatoes), maize, millets and other staple foods from these countries.
Some others are fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics invertebrates, Vegetable, fruit, nut food preparations, Oil seed, oleagic fruits, grain, seed and fruits.
There are claims many of the vegetables including cocoyam leaves (kontomire), found on the market, are from these countries.
The news has been received by traders with some amount of discomfort knowing how important it is to continue to trade with these countries.
According to reports, the statement has raised fears from the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) which said its members who import vegetables and other livestock from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger would greatly be affected.
President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, maintains that Ghana is going to be affected more than other states. He therefore called on authorities to quickly find an amicable solution.
“This thing is going to affect us more than the other member states. We should bypass the ECOWAS to find an immediate solution,” Dr. Joseph Obeng, President of the Union told Joy News.
He added that “the cross-border trading activities that go on are going to be impacted negatively, saying “Look at the cola nut that we ship to Niger, the onions that we bring from there and the tomatoes that we bring in.
“Also consider the bulk of things that the Burkinabes come to buy from us [in Ghana], so definitely it’s going to have a negative impact.”