• Wed. Aug 3rd, 2022

Upper East Farmers supported to boost tomato production

The government has started implementing a specialized programme aimed at assisting farmers in the Upper East Region in increasing tomato output in a sustainable manner to satisfy the country’s demand.

To that purpose, around 400 hundred farmers from four districts were given three varieties of tomato seeds to nurse and plant this dry season as a trial project, with intentions to incorporate many more farmers by the end of 2022.

Farmers from the municipalities of Kassena-Nankana and Bolgatanga, as well as the districts of Bongo and Talensi, were chosen and given Petomech, Raja, and Sikapa, improved and high producing tomato varieties to plant as a foundation for scaling up.

Mr. Francis Ennor, Upper East Regional Director, Department of Agriculture, made this revelation to the media in an interview.

According to the Ghana National Tomatoes Traders and Transporters Association, Ghana spends roughly US$99.5 million yearly on fresh tomatoes imported from Burkina Faso.

Mr. Ennor believes it is wrong that Ghana loses billions of Ghana Cedis to neighboring countries, particularly Burkina Faso, through tomato importation while the country’s farmers have the capacity to produce and profit from the market.

He added that in addition to the high-yielding cultivars provided to the farmers, a scientist had been hired to assist them, particularly with the administration of nematode nematicides to manage nematode infestations and assure good harvests.

“Nematodes are the most deadly illnesses that afflict tomatoes in this region, which is why most of the farmers in the Tono area have abandoned tomato production,” he said. “Once there is a treatment now, they will go back to production,” he added.

Apart from that, he noted, the government has reached an arrangement with the Ghana Tomato Traders and Transporters Association to buy the tomatoes that will be grown rather than importing them from Burkina Faso.

Mr. Ennor pointed out that this would result in various job opportunities in the tomato value chain, such as growing enough tomatoes to meet the Ghanaian market and reducing tomato imports from neighboring countries like Burkina Faso, as well as boosting the local economy.

He said that tomatoes could be produced in three months and that once the market was established, the youth would be encouraged to embark into large-scale production, which would address migratory difficulties and poverty reduction.

The Regional Director stated that the government was dedicated to assisting farmers in the region in producing enough tomatoes to supply some of the country’s factories as well as meet worldwide market demands.

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