Ghana loses 56 billion CFA to Burkina Faso (BF) through the importation of fresh tomatoes annually, Mr. Eric Osei Tuffuor, the Chairman, Ghana National Tomatoes Traders and Transporters Association (GNTTTA) has disclosed.
This, he said was because Ghana imported 90 per cent of fresh tomatoes produced in BF, saying the remaining 10 per cent is consumed between that country and La Cote Dâ€™Ivoire.
The GNTTTA Chairman said the Burkinabe â€œResearchersâ€ had consciously calculated and worked it for the country to gain that amount or more within the six months production period in a year being the planting, harvesting and marketing season of the commodity.
He said the Burkinabe government had created the enabling environment with the necessary and various incentives in place for the Researchers and farmers, citing that the country started with only seven dams but currently it has 87 to boost the fresh tomato farming industry.
Mr. Tuffuor was speaking at a meeting of tomato farmers, traders, some executive members of the GNTTTA and Mr. George Oduro, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture at Tuobodom in the Techiman North District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
It was organised by the Assembly at the instance of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following the farmersâ€™ concern for governmentâ€™s intervention for them to get stable and fair prices and ready market for the commodity.
The farmers requested for governmentâ€™s support in that regard when President Akufo-Addo went to the place last Friday as part of his three day working visit to the Brong-Ahafo Region.
He explained that the Ghanaian tomato importers preferred to buy from BF because there had been a strong business link, collaboration and cooperation between the Burkinabe farmers and the importers.
Mr Tuffuor said those farmers allowed the importers to accompany them to the farms to harvest and select the best quality for themselves and however expressed worry that beside other factors, it appeared the required levels of cooperation and understanding between the Ghanaian farmers and the traders to make the business thrive well for both parties â€œis lackingâ€.
Mr Tuffuor advised the farmers to endeavour to follow modern trends in business by ensuring best fresh tomato farming practices for quality production urged them and the buyers to be honest with themselves and peacefully negotiate to agree on pricing of the product to avoid misunderstanding and its negative consequences.
As part of measures to obtain quality production, Mr Tuffuor suggested the need for the leadership of the association to be closer to the farmers by going to their farms â€œto see what and how the farmers are doing.
â€œThe important thing is that we must do the right thing as a country because we want all the money for importation to remain in Ghanaâ€, the GNTTTA Chairman emphasised.
Mr. Peter Mensah, the District Chief Executive announced that the Assemblyâ€™s application for the establishment of tomato processing factory under the governmentâ€™s One District, One Factory had been approved.
He mentioned to maintain the prevailing peace in the District, the District Security Council (DISEC) had instituted security measures such as the deployment of military personnel in the Tuobodom Township and the presence of Police personnel and city guards to provide effective security at the Tuobodom market.
Mr. Mensah therefore entreated the farmers and traders to cooperate with the Assembly in its effort to create a congenial environment for them to do their businesses.