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Ghana: New tomato factory to be built at Techiman

A new tomato factory has been inaugurated in the Techiman municipality in Ghana, to supplement the three existing factories in the country. This is to improve domestic tomato processing and reduce the country’s dependence on imported tomato paste. The factory, which cost US$ 2,000,000, has the capacity to process 50 crates per hour.

The facility, a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Italian government, is expected to reduce post-harvest losses of tomatoes in Techiman and its environs, especially during the glut period.

The construction of the factory in the municipality will increase foreign exchange and further reduce poverty, as well as enhance income generation for rural households. The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, addressing the ceremony said the production capacity of the factory by any standard should offer a huge demand or market for the tomato raw materials and provide an assured income for the farmers.

He said the local varieties of tomatoes that had been cultivated over the years were low-yielding, with an average production of 10 tons per hectare.

“The average production is incredibly low. To be able to feed the fresh market and all the tomato industries in the country, our target for the short to medium term should be between 30-50 tons per hectare,” he added.

Mr Ahwoi appealed to farmers and processors to see each other as partners and be committed to contractual agreements binding them for the supply and purchase of quality fresh tomato for processing.

He further urged the farmers to be prepared to embrace new tomato varieties that are going to be recommended for processing and its agronomical practices for higher yield.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh, in a speech read on her behalf, said the processing of highly non storable crops such as tomato was typically promoted as a way of absorbing excess supply that result from predominantly rain fed cultivation, and to enhance the value chain through a value-added process.

She explained that globalisation and trade liberalisation had imposed serious challenges on developing countries like Ghana; therefore, there were the need investments in new technologies to enable the country to compete in the global market.

Madam Tetteh said the ministry was convinced that the management and staff of TTF would be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability and sound management practices that will lead to the expansion and sustainability of the facility.

Madam Theresa Testa, who is the Italian Deputy Head of Missions, said the post-harvest management and processing of agricultural products are one of the areas that offer the greatest potential to generate income.

She said the Italian and Ghana governments, through the technical support of the FAO have promoted a good initiative through the development of the agriculture sector by improving food security.

“This project is significant because of its contribution to poverty alleviation, job creation building for workers employed in the agriculture and agro industry in Ghana,” she noted.

Madam Testa reiterated her government’s commitment to ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in its bid to eradicated poverty, increase food security and enhance sustainable development.

The Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo on his part, entreated the management and staff of the TTF to ensure good housekeeping practices to ensure guarantee the longevity and productivity of the factory.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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