A tomato farmer, Gati Promise, is lamenting the neglect of tomato farmers at Ziope in the Volta region.
Speaking on the ‘Voice of A Citizen’ segment on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the Ghanaian citizen questioned why Ghanaians are mute over the deplorable situation in the community where majority of the residents are tomato farmers.
He was speaking to Kwame Tutu Tuesday and admonished investors to come to the community and invest in the area.
‘’People of Ghana and outside Ghana, do we keep mute till tomatoes started wasting at Ziope in the Volta region before we started looking for solutions? Our doors are open for any investors who want to go into tomatoes business. Our lands are available for factory establishment.’’
He indicated that the investment would create jobs in the area and improve the living condition of residents.
He believes the country could reduce the import of tomato should authorities invest in the area.
The community he noted is the second largest producer of tomatoes aside Burkina Faso, which is a country.
‘’We have tomatoes in large quantities but we don’t have people to buy them. That is why we are calling for investors. We have the land and so we are inviting people to come over and invest in the community.’’
The community is the largest producer of tomatoes in Ghana. If Burkina Faso is the largest producer of tomatoes, Ziope (a community) is the second largest, he stressed.
Two farmers in the area he revealed committed suicide in the community because they were unable to pay back loans they contracted for business failed to yield profits.
He also disclosed the farmers’ produce over 5,000 crates of tomatoes on daily basis during the peak season.
Ghana loses CFA56 billion, approximately $99.5 million to Burkina Faso through the importation of fresh tomatoes annually,
In May this year, the Chairman of the National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association (NTTTA), Mr Eric Osei Tuffuor, at a stakeholders meeting on the tomato industry at Tuobodom in the Techiman North District of the Brong Ahafo Region decried the sorry state of the tomato industry.
He added that, Ghana consumed fresh and canned tomato more than any country in Africa for which reason there was the need to put premium on the tomato industry.
He expressed worry about the poor packaging of fresh tomato by Ghanaian farmers and said such practices were part of the reasons traders patronised the product from Burkina Faso.
Ziope is a farming community comprises of many villages in Agotime Ziope District. It is noted for producing many farm produces, such as maize, cassava, okro, pepper, tomato, garden eggs into the central markets of Ghana and beyond and tomato is one of the largest they produce. This community celebrates annual Farm Festival dubbed “AGBLEZÃ” to enhance agricultural development in the community.