The popular saying that “Poverty in the midst of plenty,” aptly applies to Danado, a remote rural community in the Nanumba South District of the Northern Region.
To the people of this community, living along the Eastern Corridor remains a curse to them, because all their time on their farms is wasted effort.
Although they are blessed with fertile land for the cultivation of crops such as yam, as their means of livelihood, they continue to remain in poverty because of the poor nature of the road, depriving them of fair price for their commodity.
Portions of the much talked about Eastern Corridor road, especially between Nkwanta in the Oti Region to Yendi in the Northern Region, are in poor state and difficult to haul farm produce from the area, noted as one of Ghana’s food baskets, to marketing centres.
Whereas a tuber of yam is sold between GHc 5 and GHc10 in Accra, sizable tubers of yam can be purchased for as low as one Cedi at the farm gates at Danado.
“Between July and August you can get three tubers of yam at one Cedi. Yam is in glut here. Farmers are compelled to sell at cheap price because of the poor nature of the road. They cannot get access to market centres,” Dominic Nboranam, an Okada rider, told me as I took a ride on his motor bike through the community.
A farmer in the community, Binkoni Yaw said in A day, they could load between two and four trucks with tubers of yam to market centres in Accra and other parts of the country. A truck loads between 10,000 and 11,000 tubers of yam.
Gabriel Lokko, a truck driver told me at Danado that because of the poor condition of the road, it takes him two days to haul yam from the village to Accra.
“Due to the bad road, it takes me two days to travel from Danado to Accra, when I leave Danado, I will stop over at Hohoe and spend a night and then continue to Accra the next day.”
The journey from Danado to Accra through Nkwanta is about 400 kilometres and and on a good road it will take about four hours to complete the journey.
“When don’t want their money, we only want the road, when we get the road, we can look for money for ourselves,’’ was the response that greeted me in an interaction with the farmers in the community.
The frustration of Nurudeen Alhassan, a farmer at Nassanba, another farming community along the eastern corridor heightened when I interrupted him loading tubers of yam into a truck bound for Bawku in the Upper East Region.
He frowned his face and told me “We want to stop farming yam, the price is not good, we the farmers here are suffering, every body is complaining about the road, the money that we put into farming yam, we don’t get people to buy at good price, we farm at a lose.”
Without doubt good road facilitates socio-economic development towards poverty reduction, especially in rural communities.
If the national cake is meant for equitable distribution to ensure inclusiveness, then the people living along the Eastern Corridor, are yet to have a fair share of the national cake.
For now, theirs is that of poverty and deprivation in the midst of plenty.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman