Tomato farmer Demand for fresh tomatoes has increased from 220,000 in 2003 to over 270,000 metric tonnes in 2008.
The President of Ghana Trade Coalition and Livelihood Organization, Lydia Afoley Anum, who disclosed this at an induction ceremony of the Greater Accra regional tomato traders association into the Trade Union Congress, said though demand for the vegetable was high, the country was not able to produce enough to meet the demand of its populace. He said the country's production of fresh tomatoes had stagnated around 200,000 metric tonnes since 2003.
Mr Anum attributed the shortfall in the country's fresh tomato production to importation of over 90,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes paste and 20,000 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes.
The Greater Accra Regional Tomato Traders Association has over 5000 members with 30 branches across the country. The association trades over 57 percent of fresh tomatoes in the Greater Accra, Central and the Eastern regions. It also imports over 40 percent of fresh tomatoes from Burkina Faso at lean seasons into the country.
Members complained about challenges including inadequate storage facilities, highway robbery and careless driving resulting in the death of 37 colleagues on the Accra-Ouagadougou corridor last year.
President of the association, Lydia Afoley Anum claimed that bribery was routine due to several checkpoints along the stretch.
An executive member of the Trade Union Congress, Seth Abloso urged members to insure their goods and honour their tax obligations. The association was later presented with certificate of affiliation to the TUC.