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22.02.2009 Business & Finance

U/E tomato farmers refute allegation of plans to starve Northern Star Tomato Factory

By GNA
U/E tomato farmers refute allegation of plans to starve Northern Star Tomato Factory

Tomato farmers in the Upper East Region have refuted Newspaper allegations that they would not supply tomatoes to the Northern Star Tomato Factory (NSTF) at Pwalugu.

Mr John Akaribo, National Secretary of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) refuted the allegation at a press briefing in Bolgatanga at the weekend.

He said the leadership of the tomato farmers in the region would soon hold a stakeholders meeting with the Management of NSTF on marketing tomatoes that the farmers would harvest in the middle of March this year.

He noted that the publication, alleged to emanate from Mr Philip Abayore, National President of Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association was not true and did not represent the views of farmers in the region.

"I wish to assure the NSTF that the farmers in the Upper East Region have confidence and faith in the factory which is 100 per cent owned by the Government of Ghana.”

Mr Akaribo said the tomato farmers in the region disassociate themselves from the publication captioned " No Shares, No Tomato."

He called on Mr Abayore to retract the story and apologise to the farmers for the statement he made, adding; “Mr Abayore knows that without the factory there would be more suicide cases come the tomato peak in March.”

Mr Akaribo appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders to give the NSTF the necessary support to absorb farm produce during harvesting.

Mr Richard Ananga, Regional Focal Person of Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition also dismissed the allegation.

He said last year his outfit organized a stakeholders meeting with the leadership of the farmers, the management of the factory and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture during which members pledged to consider the cost of production of the farmers to enable them to sell to the factory.

Mr Ananga said there would be a stakeholders meeting to finally reach an agreement between the farmers and the Management of the factory before the harvesting period.

Mr Adamu Aganda, Chief Farmer of Tomato in charge of Vea-Yariga stressed the need for the farmers and the factory to meet and come to a compromise.

He said currently tomato farmers who used pumping machines to do small-scale farming were having difficulty as the price of a crate had dropped from 120 Ghana Cedis to 35 Ghana Cedis as dictated by Tomato Queens from Accra.

The Chief Farmer appealed to the government and development partners to come to the aid of the farmers in order not to lose their livelihood.

He said tomato farmers in Navrongo who farmed through irrigation could not farm this season due to the rehabilitation works on the Tono Irrigation Dam in the area.

GNA

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