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14.01.2010 Business & Finance

Tomato farmers, traders send SOS… Want processing factories to protect glut

By Ernest Best Anane - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association (GNTTTA) has held its general meeting in Kumasi, with a call on the government to provide more food processing factories, especially in the Northern sector of the country.

It is believed this would help eliminate the suffering of farmers from lack of customers when there is a glut in the tomato business, during which time farmers, traders, retailers, and haulage operators in the industry suffer huge losses.

The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Eric Osei Tuffuor, said this intervention would also help minimize importation from the neighbouring countries, and help the local farmer access local markets, and enhance job opportunities for the youth and women in the country.

The Chairman further explained that fresh tomatoes are rich in vitamins, and help reduce prostate cancer in men and thereby enhance life expectancy.

Mr. Osei Tuffuor blamed the situation on the lack of controls and regulations of marketing structures, particularly regarding wholesaling with respect to the Ministry of Trade endorsed schedule system for both the local and cross-border trade.

The Chairman lamented that as a nation, we had lost out to Burkina Faso in the tomato trade since 2001, by the fact that we cushion their economy with billions of foreign exchange through the import of vegetables, when some 15 years ago, they were relying on us for tomatoes.

He called for government interventions to address all problems affecting the trade, particularly credit facilities.

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