The Economics of Post-harvest Handling and Marketing of Legumes in Ghana: the Case of Cowpea, Groundnuts and Bambara Beans.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
The contribution of post-harvest management to the attainment of food and nutrition security in Ghana cannot be overemphasized. In this chapter the background and importance of marketing in the development of agriculture, and the problems and expectations associated with the post-harvest handling and marketing of legumes are discussed. Also highlighted are the research objectives, scope and limitations of the research as well as a description of the study area.
There has been widespread public outcry about the rising cost of food in the country in recent times. In particularly, the prices of cowpea and groundnuts, which are important to boarding schools, homes, industries and refugee camps, for instance, continue to rise sharply on our markets. Figures 1.1 and 1.2 show the nominal average price trends for cowpea and groundnuts, both of which present sharp increases from 1980.
The actual price situations, depicted by the trend of price indexes are also presented in Figures 1.3 and 1.4. The figures reveal that cowpea prices have been persistently unstable with sharp fluctuations over the years. The annual prices for groundnuts show a more stable and regular trend than cowpea prices. For both crops, the price indexes for 1983 is the highest portraying the severity of food scarcity in the country in that year. Although lack of data on annual prices of bambara beans made it impossible in this study to present an illustration of its price trend over the years, the high price and low quality of the crop on the markets indicate similar situations over the years.
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