Tomato farmers need suitable seeds and market
Stakeholders in tomato trade have been asked to collaborate with researchers to produce varieties of tomato seeds to suit climatic conditions in the Northern part of Ghana so that it could be cultivated all year round.
Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, who made the call, said that the Northern Star Tomato Company, if put to full capacity could process all tomatoes produced in the Region and those from Burkina Faso to prevent glut and waste.
He was speaking at the opening of Stakeholders Workshop on Joint Tomato Venture between Ghana and Burkina Faso, on Tuesday in Bolgatanga.
It formed part of a process being undertaken by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) and its Burkina Faso counterpart, to promote tomato trade between the two countries by eliminating unnecessary rivalries, tensions and unhealthy competitions that characterize the tomato trade.
Mr Woyongo said “I would wish to reiterate that the tomato factory is prepared to enter into any bilateral agreement with Burkina Faso for the continuous supply of raw materials, which are tomatoes, for its operations. I therefore wish to urge our counterparts from Burkina Faso to seriously think over the issue and give it the needed attention for the mutual benefits of our people”.
Other areas that could be exploited, the Minister said were shea nut and cotton processing.
Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, coordinator of GTLC, presenting a paper on tomato production in the Upper East Region, said about 91.8 per cent of tomato growers were commercial farmers and it had been identified to be the only crop that farmers could rely on to make good income.
However, the industry was being hampered by problems including, lack of suitable seed for both rainy and dry season cultivation, diseases and poor market.
Mr Akalbila said that a research done in 2009 showed that about 30 per cent of respondents did not have access to agricultural extension services and of the 43 per cent who received advice from agriculture officers, only 15.3 per cent had improved yields.