The Ghana National Tomatoes Traders and Transporters Association (GNATTA) has served notice to import more tomatoes from Burkina Faso if government fails to fulfill its promise of constructing more irrigation dams in the country especially the three Northern regions this year.
According to the Association, Ghana would not have to import tomatoes if farmers in the three Northern regions are resourced with enough dams to cater for their farms.
Ghana, as at December 2015, was daily importing about seventy trucks of tomatoes from Burkina Faso, which could seen as a major boost to the economy of Burkina Faso.
The National Chairman of the Association, Eric Osei Tuffour, insists that they will even double their import this year since government is not ready to address their challenges.
Speaking in an interview with GARDJA, Mr. Tuffour said notwithstanding the quantum of money the Association spends on importation, it will continue to shape the economy of Burkina Faso until farmers in the three Northern regions are empowered to produce more and quality vegetables.
Lands in the Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso have the same soil fertility level yet Burkina Faso is doing well in vegetable production than the Ghana. Due to this, vegetable traders in the country spend huge sums of monies importing vegetables to feed the country, a situation the chairman described as worrisome.
“We are ready to buy our own tomatoes only if the government is prepared to empower our local farmers, provide them with the needed facilities such as irrigation dams to produce more and quality vegetables for the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, vegetable sellers in Kumasi are calling on the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MOFA) to help them flush out “foreigners” who pose themselves as agents in the various markets in Kumasi.
They have threatened to take them on strongly if MOFA does not intervene.
According to their leader of tomatoes sellers at Bantama, Afia Sarfowaah, such unscrupulous non vegetable traders who have now turned to agents are exploiting the farmers hence collapsing their business.
She urged all vegetable traders to join hands get rid of such agents by becoming more organized.
Story by Ernest Kwaw Essuman