Tomato farmers in the Upper East region have been assured by Mr Steven Yakubu, the Regional Minister for the region of his unflinching support to recapture the past glory of tomato trade.
That he said would help create more business opportunities to women and the general population.
He noted that the region’s loss of the opportunity to remain in the tomato business and to create revenue for the country needed to be recaptured.
He gave the assurance at a tomato value chain actor’s engagement meeting in Bolgatanga, where the stakeholders brainstormed challenges militating against the business, and ways to improve on production for better market access.
The Minister lauded the regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for initiating the process and was particularly appreciative of the Tomato Traders and Transporters Association of Ghana for their involvement in the new initiative.
“The President’s zeal to improve agriculture cannot be re-emphasized and therefore the planting for food and jobs, rearing for food and jobs, and planting for export and rural development programmes are all aimed at leveraging and uplifting agriculture in the country”.
Mr Yakubu said the country’s importation of about $99.5 million worth of tomatoes from elsewhere annually to cater for shortage was not good and indicated that Burkina Faso alone made about six million CFA in revenue from Ghana.
He called for more work to be done to change the trend and make the country retain the revenue.
To this end, he urged value chain actors including; Agro Input dealers, researchers, MoFA and Bankers to bring their rich experiences to bear on one another to achieve the new initiative.
Mr Francis Ennor, the Regional Director of MoFA in an address to participants indicated that agriculture hinged on marketing and for tomato farmers to get access to the local market and there was the need to explore the opportunities available there.
He noted MoFA was ready to help farmers to achieve needed results in production, but farmers needed to change their attitude to become more business oriented people and urged them to plant certified seeds and follow the specific protocols when told to do so.
Other stakeholders included; the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) and the University for Development Studies represented by Dr Dauda Mohammed, Lecturer and crop physiologist.