General News of Saturday, 9 November 2019
Yam sellers are gradually taking over some principal streets of Accra in what has become a source of livelihood for many young men.
Though a risky task, the able-bodied young men can be seen running and chasing vehicles all in the bid to sell to their occupants.
The trade, which used to take place at designated market centres, has now been taken to major streets of the capital city.
The yam business initially started from the Graphic Road but has now spread to other principal streets, including the Liberia Road, Royal Castle Road at Kokomlemle, the Accra Psychiatric Hospital intersection and Holy Spirit Cathedral area.
From dawn to dusk, the majority of the young men who engage in the business defy the odds as they meander their way through vehicles to court potential buyers.
Although there are market centres such as the Kokomba Yam Market at Agbogbloshie and the Haatso Yam Market, the young men resort to selling their wares in traffic where they claim business is friendlier.
With about four to five tubers of yam lined up on their arms, they move from one vehicle to the other as they advertise their wares and bargain with occupants of the vehicles for the acceptable prices.
When the Daily Graphic spoke with some of the sellers along the Graphic road, one of them who only gave his name as Yakubu said he was selling on the street because of the non-availability of space in the markets.
He explained that they usually bought the yams in bulk from the market and since they could not sell there, they had no choice but to sell on the road at retail prices.
“It is more profitable to sell in traffic than in the markets because we get better prices for the yams since people will calculate the risk of going to the market and other costs and rather buy from us.
“On the streets, we sell four or five tubers of yam for GH¢30, particularly during the season. We can even give six tubers of yam for the same GH¢30. We sometimes reduce the prices, especially in the evening when we are tired,” he said.
Yakubu said the prices of his yams were a little above those of traders in the market.
He said the market was good because people preferred to buy from them rather than going all the way to the market.
Another seller, Sadik, said he would have preferred to sell at the market but because of profit considerations, he opted for the streets.
“The market is always a good place to sell but we do not get space to sell, but here you are free to go about your work without any problems,” he said.
He also said he was aware that selling in traffic was not safe but he had no choice as “we have to make a living.”
Some people who patronised the yams said they were content with buying from the streets.
According to them, buying from the streets saved time and was convenient.
Ms Cecilia Mensah, who is a public servant, said on Fridays when she closed from the office, she purchased yams at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital intersection.
“The prices are better there than the market, and I feel happy buying from there,” she said.
Another buyer said: “I always have pity on them when I see young able-bodied men carrying sometimes six tubers of yam, sweating profusely under the scorching sun. I wonder what the future holds for these young men.”
Efforts to get a reaction from the Klottey Korle Municipal Assembly proved elusive as the Municipal Chief Executive and the Municipal Coordinating Director were not at post when the Daily Graphic went to the Municipal Assembly offices yesterday.