Build capacity of tomato farmers to help meet local demand – Government urged

The Fruits and Vegetables Producers Association of Ghana (FVPAG) has urged government to invest in building the production capacity of tomato farmers in Ghana as well as the development of better varieties of tomatoes to increase the quality of quantity of tomatoes produced in Ghana.

According to the association, this will end the unfortunate phenomena of our overdependence on tomatoes imported from Burkina Faso.

While records from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture show that in 2017, Ghana imported some 75,000 tons of tomatoes to meet domestic demand, with majority of this coming from neighboring Burkina Faso, it had also emerged that Ghana was spending about $100 million for the importation of vegetables annually, mostly tomatoes and onions according to a study by the Agency for Health and Food Security (AHEFS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Speaking to Citi Business News on the possible shortage of tomatoes on the market and a subsequent jump in prices as a result of the ongoing strike action by the Tomato Traders and Transporters Association over attacks by robbers, the Public Relations Officer of the Fruits and Vegetables Producers Association of Ghana, Frank De-Veer said its high time Ghana reduces its dependence on tomatoes from Burkina Faso by using science to develop better varieties of the commodity.

“I’m saying that the farmers must have the capacity. Any farmer who is a tomato farmer, in the dry season that we have now must have water. Without water, you cannot do anything in the dry season. The tomatoes from Burkina Faso are coming from the use of irrigation. And that is it, we have to use irrigation to grow our tomatoes.”

“Also let’s use hybrids, let’s put money in and then let’s guarantee the market for the farmer because the incentives are not there for a lot of farmers when it comes to some of these crops. From Burkina what we know is that the state helps them a lot, they put in a lot. Here the state is doing its bit, but it could be more,” he added.

Mr. De-Veer also assured that Ghana will be able to reduce imports by about 50 percent in a year if the right steps are taken.

“Immediately you cannot unless you have the capacity. But I’m telling you if we put our act together, within a year we should be able to bring down drastically, maybe 50% to 90% of the importation from Burkina. But we must have a can-do attitude.”

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