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Friday, September 03, 2010

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Farmers in Ghana have been producing food for sale in local urban centers since the 1930s. The marketplace system has expanded its capacity as the urban population grew. I would be surprised if a majority of Ghana's farmers were in fact subsistence farmers, choosing their assortment of crops with only family consumption rather than potential sale in mind. It is the market trader who keeps these farmers in the commercial system, aspiring to expand production although not always succeeding. The marketplace system also gives them access to credit in the form of cash advances for inputs and harvesting labor from buyers they know. They also advance goods on credit to the traders when they are plentiful. You are meeting in Accra; there is no reason not to go down to Makola #2/
December 31st market or Malata Market and see the enormous volume of goods these channels already handle every day. Up till now, the market traders have been much more reliable and efficient partners to farmers than the corporate formal sector or the public sector has managed to be. Why not include them in your visions of local business? Of course their performance can be improved for mutual benefit with thoughtful assistance.

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