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Opinions Wed, 5 Aug 2015

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The rotten Bolgatanga tomatoes and the abandoned tomato factory

By Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng

The Upper East of Ghana is known for many popular tourist sites but the Chief of all what the people of Upper East pride themselves in,is their TOMATOES. Popularly known as the ‘Bolga Tomatoes’

The quality of tomatoes from the Upper East Region makes it one of the best in West Africa and every market woman in Ghana will always want to associate the source of her tomatoes to Bolga, whether it is coming from there or not.

‘Bolga Tomatoes’ tastes natural and free from artificial crop fertilizers, as compared to the ones from Burkina Faso which is mostly fertilizer enhanced.

Now, why is the ‘Bolga Tomatoes’ left to rot without anyone showing concern? We have the best and we can’t manage or transform but leave it to rot.

The Northern Star Tomato Factory in Pawlugu, which was set up to buy tomatoes from farmers and produce it into concentrates has still not started active production. There have been several news items assuring Ghanaians and the farmers in Bolga that the Tomato factory will start production but all have been a fallacy.

The 5 million dollar rehabilitated factory is now locked up in the bushes and we still don’t know when production is starting! Farmers are losing a lot because of the delay in operations of the factory, since they can’t market and also preserve the produce.

Most buyers from the South and North have now resorted in buying tomatoes from Burkina Faso with the excuse that the locally produced one is expensive.

Two months ago the Regional Minister said he was worried about defunct factories in the Upper East Region, and if all the factories are left to shut down, then we should prepare as a Nation for the rise in unemployment, illegal settlers, teenage pregnancy among others!

If all the factories in the Upper East were to be functioning, then we have no cause to worry because none of the vibrant youths there will descend down to the South to do kayaye or pound fufu!

I humbly call on the Minister in charge of Ministry of Trade and Industries(MOTI), Mr.Spio E. Gabrah and the Upper East Coordinating Council to wake up as a matter of urgency and do something to save the dying Tomato factory which will go a long way to help the youth of Pawl ugu and the whole of Bolgatanga as a whole. The Upper East Regional House Chiefs should also rise up and redeem the lost image of the Upper East.

Indigenes and people of Upper East Region are sick and tired of the many assurances, when it comes to the Northern Star Tomato Factory.

You can contact the writer on:0249542342/0508609109

Columnist: Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemfra

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