A lecturer at the University of Development Studies (UDS), Dr John Yaw Akparep is urging the government of Ghana to support the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop a new variety of tomatoes for the country to reduce the importation of tomatoes into the country.
Dr. John Yaw Akparep said the current variety of tomatoes being cultivated by farmers in the country including Petomech, Power Rano, Roma VFN, Rio Grande, are not helping farmers because when they are harvested they go bad quickly compared to the Heinz variety cultivated in Burkina Faso.
“Processors and traders journey to Burkina Faso in the quest to get fresh tomatoes for the Ghanaian market whilst the locally produced tomatoes are left to rotten or sold at give-away prices. The Heinz variety has hard outer layer, less watery and has a longer shelf life.”
He made the appeal at a day’s stakeholders workshop on the tomato industry organised by the Federation of Tomatoes Growers Association of Ghana with support from BUSAC Fund which was under the theme: “Rejuvenation of the tomato industry in Ghana: Providing certified and Buyer desired variety seeds.”
He further stated that the country continues to import tomatoes from Burkina Faso because of the quality of the Heinz variety.
The Heinz variety does well in the Northern part of the country but does not do well in other parts of the country.
He noted that the CSIR has indicated that they are capable of developing new variety of tomatoes that is capable of staying long after harvesting but funding is the challenge.
He called for a boost in irrigation activities will ensure that farmers have full control over the seed varieties that will be grown as well as to obtain them for more production purposes.