By Rachel Kakraba.
Some Former Onion Traders at Agbogbloshie who recently relocated to Gomoa Dominase near Winneba on the Accra Takoradi Highway say their relocation has been a blessing.
According to them, restrictions in selling particular products while at Agbogbloshie is no longer the case giving them the privilege of trading in a variety of products, which has increased their profit margins significantly.
More so, congestion which exposed them to health hazards is also a thing of the past, as the new market is spacious. The traders have, however, appealed to the government to intervene to ensure speedy development of the market, especially with the construction of market sheds to enhance their trade.
Agbogbloshie, the hub of onion trade in Ghana, has for more than 20 years been home to onion traders. As part of efforts to decongest Accra, the onion traders were moved to Adjen Kotoku, off the Nsawam road in the Ga West Municipality in July 2021. However, for some of the onion traders, the huge numbers involved in the relocation resulted in congestion and frequent confrontation among traders.
It is in the light of this that those of them who hitherto commuted to and from Kasoa and its environs to Accra thought it wise to find an alternative land around the area to start an onion market. Luck smiled on them as they identified Gomoa Dominase, a town off the Kasoa-Takoradi Highway that could host their numbers.
Chairman of the Onion Sellers Association, Alhaji Fuseini, regretted their earlier resistance to the directive to vacate Agbogbloshie. For him, their relocation to Dominase has been a blessing.
Alhaji Fuseini said; “For more than 20 years we were at Agbogbloshie trading in onions. We got notification from the government they needed the land, a reason we had to relocate. At Adjen Kotoku where we were moved, there was so much congestion, leading to frequent misunderstandings and fights. Consequently, some of us who were already located in the Central Region but had to commute to Agbobloloshie and now Kotoku decided to look for land nearby for our business. We identified this place and went to see the chiefs who were excited about our plans. We are in touch with the Assembly and other relevant stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to ensure this place is made convenient for us. If we had known this is how good our relocation would be, we would not have given the Minister a tough time. The air alone here is refreshing enough and we are grateful to him and the traditional leaders.”
The traders get their produce here in Ghana and also from neighbouring African countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. Though the market is yet to be fully developed, it attracts customers from far and near. Alhaji Fuseini said as a measure to make the market comfortable for use they have been provided mobile toilets and refuse containers. They have also been provided with 24-hour security. For now, they do not have sheds or convenient places to store their goods but that will not be a reason to commence construction of sheds because it was a major bane at Agbogbloshie.
“We do not want to replicate indiscriminate putting of structures as was the case of Agbogbloshie. So in consultation with the District Assembly we will work on the demarcations, once that is done we will help with the construction of sheds.”
The Mankrado of Gomoa Fetteh, Nana Kwesi Quansah who is in charge of the Dominase Onion Market said traditional authorities are excited about the market and together with the District Assembly’s plans are afoot to develop the place into an ultra-modern market.
“When they were ejected from Agbogbloshie some of their leaders came to us for a parcel of land to continue their trade. They were asked to pay an amount and were also told the government would come in at a point. Already we are speaking with the District Assembly and there are plans to develop it into an ultra-modern market. Those of us who are indigenes of Gomoa Fetteh, are so excited about the market. We do not have any sustainable livelihoods and this market is very significant to us.”
It’s been months now since the onion traders relocated to Dominase. Interacting with some of them, they said business is booming at their new location.
Madam Adwoa said she lives at Swedru and saw the opportunity with the new market.
“I live in Swedru and commute here every morning to sell. Business is booming here and I am happy with the sales I make. Back at Agbogbloshie, we were restricted to sell a particular product, but that is not the case here. We will plead with the government to help us with sheds.
Another trader Auntie Esi, who lives at Awutu Breku, said business has been good but wants the government to intervene with the construction of sheds.
“I’m at Awutu Breku and got information the land was being graded for a market. I rushed here and luckily secured a spot. By the grace of God, I’m able to get my daily bread. It’s a new market and business is good. I’m convinced the intervention of the government in constructing sheds will make it even better.”
Another trader, Auntie Connie said, “We thank God for the commencement of the market in this area. Some of the tables inside are unoccupied, a reason some of us prefer to sell on the fringes. I will plead with colleague traders who have spaces here to move in to make business brisk.”
Hajia Asamawu, who sells onions, yam, rice among other products, said, “I moved the very day the minister asked us to go because what is for you is better than what is for government.”
She said commuting to and from Sukura, a suburb of Accra, is her major concern as transportation fare is having a toll on her business.
A shopper, Auntie Fosuaa said, “formerly we used to go shopping at Agbogbloshie, Kasoa, Winneba and surrounding areas. But now I shop here. Prices here are very affordable. We are also able to get other products such as second-hand clothing. We are grateful to authorities for starting the market here at Gomoa Dominase.”
The road leading to the Dominase Onion Market is in fairly good shape; however, some of the traders who commute from Accra, say transport fare is taking a toll on them. They are also in urgent need of sheds because as it stands, they are constantly exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Already, there are reports that the price of onions has shot up, following the relocation of the onion market at Agbogbloshie. Perhaps this is the time for some transport operators to take advantage of the opportunity the Dominase Onion market offers to run services to the place.