Youth of Berekuso, a town in the Eastern Region, have left their farms to venture into Okada business and petty trading to make ends meet.
The farming business which used to be the main occupation of residents in the community has declined in recent years, causing people to rethink their source of livelihood.
In the face of the current economic downturn, many say they are suffering to raise funds to support their businesses and homes as prices of general goods and services continue to skyrocket.
Elizabeth Sakyi, a housewife, who set up a convenience shop three years ago to cater for her four children, is counting her losses because her business is currently crumbling due to high prices and low patronage.
In an interview on JoyNews’ Living Standard Series, she said shelves in her shop are almost empty because her capital cannot buy goods.
These days, she hardly goes to Accra to stock up, a chore she used to do every other weekend but prices have risen steeply.
“Life is not easy at Berekuso, there are no jobs. Even when you trade, no one buys. My business is failing, my capital keeps dwindling and it is hard to explain how this is happening.
“Goods have become so expensive, I am unable to buy enough to stock up. When you increase prices too, customers complain that they can’t afford them,” she said.
Now, her family’s daily expenditure has gone up and it is becoming hard to cater for her children.
She has to squeeze out ¢80 daily just for food. Sometimes, she goes hungry just to ensure her children eat.
“I have to cough out ¢60 for my three elderly children every day. I share ¢20 with the baby but sometimes I go hungry so he can have enough.”
A better life for families like Lizzy’s is increasingly becoming difficult.
Her neighbour, Hawa Fana, a Sierra Leonean with six children, has a tabletop shop. To make ends meet, she also braids and styles hair.
But the problem is she has to drastically cut down her prices because people in the town can hardly afford it.
Some are even still in her debt.
“When you charge someone ¢10 or ¢15 for a service, she would tell you she can afford only ¢7. For some, they would promise to pay the next day but they won’t honour their promise.
“For the few lucky days, I can get ¢20 from which I am able to afford some food with my children,” she said.
The harsh economic situation in the town has forced many young men to migrate to Accra or engage in the Okada business.
Sackey, a senior high school leaver, has put his education on hold to take care of his siblings.
Either a labourer’s job or Okada business will do just fine. But even with that, eating has become a daily struggle.
“Coming by money is difficult in this town. I completed school last year but now I have to drop my dreams of continuing my education to fend for my younger siblings.
“When I am able to get ¢20, I can afford variety of my meals but when there is no money, I take gari soakings three times a day,” he added.
In a community where many have abandoned farming for supposed greener pastures in bigger towns, food prices are likely to climb higher and hopes of a better standard of living in Berekuso look dimmer.
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