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Stakeholders strategise to make Ghana tomato sufficient

Missing Tomatoes.png Tomatoes

Fri, 25 Mar 2022 Source: GNA

Stakeholders in the tomato value chain in Ghana have for the first time met to strategise to revitalise the sector to reduce the importation of the commodity.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the stakeholders, drawn from the production, processing, trading, marketing and transport sectors, held their maiden tomato dialogue in Accra.

The engagement gave the stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the challenges confronting players in the tomato value chain, its impact, and offered suggestions for policy considerations.

The participants expressed concern about the volume of importation of tomatoes and its impact on the economy.

Data provided by the Ghana National Tomato Producers’ Federation, showed that the country produced 510,000 metric tonnes of tomato per year.

The country imported 7,000 tonnes of per month from its neighbours (84,000 metric tonnes annually), and imported 27,000 tonnes of processed tomato from Europe.

Against this background, stakeholders have noted the need for a system to support the value chain to reduce tomato imports from Burkina Faso and the attendant risks, including highway robbery and extortion of money.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the event, Mr Eric Osei Tuffuor, the Chairman of Ghana National Tomatoes Traders and Transporters Association (GNTTTA), called for a mechanism to curb the over CFA 57 billion imports.

He noted that as a leading consumer of fresh tomato in Africa, Ghana, could not continue to depend on other countries for its tomato needs, therefore, the need to address the challenges in the value chain. He was hopeful that the meeting would be instrumental in finding lasting solutions to challenges in the value chain.

Mr Adusei Mensah, Chairman, Federation of Tomato Growers Association of Ghana, said with the right education to farmers, the country would produce the quality and quantity to meet the demands of consumers.

He said: “If we the producers and buyers agree to what they’re telling us and offer us good education, whereby the farmers will be able to produce the quality and quantity needed, they’ll stop going to Burkina Faso.”

Dr Benedict Bonaventure Aligebam, the Managing Director of the Irrigation Company of Upper East Region (ICOUR) indicated that the meeting was a breakthrough for the industry.

He said: “The outcome of this meeting will be a good strategic plan for us to see the way forward in having to bring back tomato production vigorously in the country.”

Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, the Director of Crop Services at MoFA, said, “As a country, we realise that tomato as a commodity needs a paradigm shift in terms of its production up to the time that it will be processed.”

“Therefore, in the short term, we are going to support farmers and all the actors among the value chain so that in the long term, we stop going to Burkina Faso and become self-sufficient in tomato production in the country.”

At the State level, the agriculture component of the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme would provide a well-structured system for increased production.

He said: “There would be varieties of improved seedlings, extension of support services, and support to traders and market queens, as well as processors to mop-up their operations.

Source: GNA