Continuously importing millions of dollars’ worth of tomatoes from neighbouring Burkina Faso is taking a huge toll on tomato farmers in Ghana. The Federation of Tomato Growers Association at Tuobodom in the Techiman North Municipality of the Bono East Region, which produces a chunk of tomatoes, says its members are recording low sales due to the excessive importation.
The farmers are worried they may not be able to repay loans acquired to expand their farms. Tomato production in Ghana is not any different from most parts of the world considering that tomato as a vegetable is used in almost every meal preparation globally.
Farmers stand to gain significantly from the crop if they cultivate it the right way. But despite having the right soil and seasons for the cultivation of tomatoes to meet local demand and for export, Ghana has not tapped the full potential of this food crop.
Records from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture show that in 2017, Ghana imported some 75,000 tons of tomatoes to meet domestic demand. Majority of this comes from neighbouring Burkina Faso.
In May 2018, it emerged that Ghana was losing approximately $99.5 million to Burkina Faso through the importation of fresh tomatoes annually. While Ghana imported 90 per cent of fresh tomatoes produced in Burkina Faso, the remaining 10 per cent is consumed between that country and La Cote D’Ivoire.
The Ghana National Tomatoes Traders and Transporters Association expressed worry about this and its impact on local farmers.