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Tomato farming is the most viable in Upper East

Bolgatanga, Feb. 6, GNA - Tomato farming is the most viable agricultural investment in the Upper East Region as compared to rice, groundnuts or any other crop, a recent study has revealed.

The research was conducted by Trade Aid Integrated, an NGO operating in the Region, with support from the Tomatoes Processors Association of Nyariga (TOPAN) working in the interest of tomato farmers and funded by the Business and Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC).

Presenting the findings at a one-day forum in Bolgatanga on Monday, the Director of the Trade Aid Integrated, Nicholas Apokerah, indicated that tomato farming gives employment to about 58,640 farmers in the region.

He noted that the region has a vast potential for tomato production and was capable of meeting the needs of the revamped Pwalugu Tomato factory if given the needed support.

The forum was under the theme: ‘Revamping the Pwalugu Tomato Factory - A Sure Way of improving Market Access to Tomato Farmers in The Upper East Region’.

He said currently, production level of tomatoes from Tono and Vea Irrigation dams and other water bodies in the region was about 10,000 metric tons with the potential of increasing to more than 98,000 tonnes, “if given the fullest attention,”.
The research found that tomato farmers in the region faced a couple of problems, particularly marketing, finance, inadequate water, pest and diseases.

It noted that apart from the Tono and Vea Irrigation dams, which provided large-scale water in much organized ways, most of the farmers depended on riverbanks and other water bodies using rudimentary methods of harvesting water.

The study further revealed that most of the dams that were constructed or rehabilitated under the Land Conservation and Small Holder Rehabilitation Project (LACOSREP) have limited water-holding capacity and were not serving the desired purposes.

It recommended that water harvesting engineering of both the Tono and Vea Irrigation Dams should be re-serviced to improve their intake of water.
The research finding also suggested that farmers who use riverbanks and other water bodies should be assisted with water harvesting tools such as pumping machines.

It stresses the need for the Government and investors to set up a special fund to assist tomatoes farmers to go into mass production.

It also asked the Government to give subsidy to tomato farmers because most of them cannot afford inputs on the market and make any profit on production.

The report appealed to the Government to speed up the revamping of the Pwalugu Tomato factory and to ensure that the factory buys tomatoes only from the region instead of Burkina Faso.

Farmers at the forum called for a Memorandum of Understanding between them and the management of Pwalugu Tomato factory on the terms of pricing and purchasing.



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