Consumer prices of coconut fruits have increased from GHS2.00 to GHS2.50 in Koforidua and other places, a phenomenon sellers attribute to hikes in transport charges combined with loading and offloading cost, a Ghana News Agency survey has revealed.
All four main coconut joints in the central business district of the New Juaben South Municipality that the GNA visited showed that prices of the fruits have gone up while demand have slumped.
Coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently increased in popularity due to their flavour, culinary uses, and potential health benefits.
The fruit of coconut is used for water, milk and food or medicine, and rated as one of the fastest-growing fruits patronised on the Ghanaian market, and providing job opportunities for several young people as many are engaged in its sale and packaging of its husks for other commercial uses.
Mr Kofi Asare, a popular coconut seller, told the GNA that the unit price at farm joints has climbed from 80 Ghana pesewas to GHS1.20, and for sellers to break even, they have to also raise the price to GHS2.00 or GHS2.50.
He attributed the increases in farm prices to the increasing scarcity of the fruit and other charges such as transportation, loading and offloading cost as retailers had to travel to faraway villages to get the product carted to urban centres.
He said dealers in the fruits usually engage the services of residents or motorbikes to cart the produce from the farm to the roadside where vehicles could then carry them.
Mr Macheal Assefua, who said he had been in the coconut selling business for seven years, indicated that they sometimes had to strike a deal with local farmers to purchase the fruit on credit.
When asked if they pay taxes the sellers replied in the negative but added that, they do pay market levies of one Ghana cedis every day to revenue collectors from the municipal assembly.
Mr Joseph Boama, a regular consumer of coconut, said he was advised by a health practitioner to take coconut daily for his general wellbeing and that for the past five years he had been buying coconut from that joint.