By Austin Ofori Addo
Mr. Eric Osei Kufour, president of the Ghana Tomato Traders and Exporters Association has attributed the high cost of tomatoes in the country to the shortage of the commodity.
According to him, the high demand of the commodity in neighbouring Burkina Faso especially from Ghanaian traders has resulted in the sharp increases in the prices in the commodity. He went on to describe the situation of long queues of parked trucks from Ghana waiting to be filled with tomatoes for onward transportation to Ghana which are a common sight in Burkina Faso.
Mr. Kufuor was convinced that secret behind Burkina Faso’s success story in its agricultural production is that they have about 70 irrigation dams across various parts of the country to ensure water supply for the cultivation of tomatoes and other vegetables.
These among others have given farmers in that country to take advantage of the desperation of the Ghanaian traders to increase their prices which in turn reflect on the Ghanaian market.
Mr. Kufuor mentioned one such town in Burkina Faso called Yara which is close to the Malian border and about 400 km from the capital Ouagadougou. This town according to him at certain times is the only place where they get tomatoes and that at times, traders are compelled to wait for a week before getting what they want.
He lamented however that though Bolgatanga used to supply enough tomatoes for the rest of the country, the purpose of the Tono irrigation dam which was for the production of tomatoes shifted to the production of other crops such as sweet potatoes, maize, and others crops.
This he added affected the nutritional value of the crops which affected tomatoes production.