Some watermelon farmers at Kyeatanaga in the Wa West District have attributed the teething challenges of poor road network and lack of ready market for the produce as a disincentive to them.
They believed that watermelon farming could transform their economic fortune if the challenge of bad roads linking the farms to market centres was attended to and ready markets secured for the fruits.
Mr Adams Sabogu, a teacher from the community, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Wa that watermelon is a “green gold”, which made him to make time to support farmers at the community and its environs to cultivate it.
“I have built a three bedroom self-contain house at the community through the watermelon farming. I support farmers who are interested in farming it, and after selling, they give me 50 per cent of the proceeds.
You can get as much as GHC10,000.00 from two to three acres of watermelon farm,” he explained.
Mr Sabogu, however, noted that sometimes the fruits got rotten on the farm due to the bad nature of the roads leading to the community, particularly during the rainy season.
According to him, due to the over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture, watermelon farmers could not space their production, which resulted in a glut and post-harvest loses.
Mr Sabogu stressed the need for the government to fix the road challenges in the area as well as ensuring ready market for the produce to help improve its cultivation.
He said the government’s One-Village-One-Dam (1V1D) initiative could help ensure all year round water melon production if it was well implemented.
That, Mr Sabogu said, would give meaning to the One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) project as that would require the establishment of a fruit juice factory in the area.
Some farmers, who also spoke to the GNA, said the twin-challenge of poor road network and lack of market discouraged them from cultivating the fruit in larger quantities.
Mr Ibrahim Sule noted that “farming watermelon is profitable. All of us who took the farming (of watermelon) very seriously are now seeing the benefits. We are all buying and owning properties”.
He, however, said they were not able to farm in large quantities because they were not sure of the market and how to convey them.
Meanwhile, research indicates that consuming healthy watermelon had exceptional health benefits to the human system including reducing the risk of diabetes and cancer, reducing blood pressure and risk of heart attack among others.