Gari is a common staple in Ghana, prepared from grated cassava. It is eaten with sugar (soakings) or used to complement beans or rice and beans (waakye), among other meals, and is especially popular among Senior High School (SHS) and University students who stay on campus.
It is an essential food item for most Ghanaians, previously tagged as a meal for the deprived in society, but has now become the most sought-after food by most residents in Kumasi, and Ghana at large. In times like these, when people are locked down in their homes as part of the government’s measures to control the infection and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, gari is now held in high esteem.
Due to the increase in demand, the price of gari has shot up overnight. Before the restriction on movement in Kumasi, an ‘olonka’ (tin measure) of gari was sold at GH¢7, but now the same quantity goes for GH¢20, more than a 100 per cent increase in price. Akua Maggi, a gari seller, told the Daily Graphic that they were not taking advantage of the situation to milk residents, but were rather passing on the cost they incurred to get the gari to the buyers.
She said a bag of gari which she bought at GH¢400 now went for GH¢650. “We don’t even get the required stock from the distributors,” she added.
A visit to the Bantama market attested to the fact that gari had now gained prominence in view of its high demand. Maame Ama, a trader, told the Daily Graphic that she had run out of stock and that she had called for additional bags from her suppliers.