The Upper East Regional Minister, Hon. Stephen Yakubu has charged the experts and researchers in the production and marketing of tomato to resolve challenges around the sector to re-brand the region as the hub of quality tomatoes in the country.

“It is therefore high time we re-visited the best old days and strategize to recapture such a huge local market” he stated.
He added that he was exceedingly glad that the Regional Department of Agriculture had taken this bold step to revamp the tomato business in the region.

Hon. Yakubu stated this at a-day sensitization workshop that brought value chain actors in the production of tomato in Bolgatanga to brainstorm and r the way forward.

The Regional Minister said tomato forms a key ingredient in the preparation of almost all dishes, be it jollef-rice, light soup, stew among others making Ghana the leading consumer of fresh tomatoes in Africa and second in the world.

He added that this results into Ghana spending close to $99.5 million on the importation of the commodities from elsewhere annually to cater f or the shortage with Burkina Faso alone earning over six million CFA in revenue from Ghana.

Recalling the good old days, hon. Yakubu noted that in the early and mid-90s, the Upper East Region was noted for brisk production and marking of quality tomato and a period that generated a lots of employment and other business opportunities for the farmers.

“What happened that as a region we lost such a golden opportunity and allowed our neigbour, Burkina Faso to have the upper hand in the tomato trade” he asked.

In his welcome address, the Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr. Francis Ennor assured the Regional Minister that in the next two years the trend would change to make the region number on in the production of tomato thereby creating job opportunities and wealth for the people in the region especially farmers.

He added that the plan this time round will be done on sustainable and reliable manner to assure the traders of good quality and the availability of the commodity, therefore, called for trust and commitment from the researchers and the farmers.

The engagement brought six District Directors of Agriculture, Agriculture Researchers from CK-Tendam of University of Applied Sciences, experts at Savanna Research Institute (SARI), Tomatoes Traders and Transport Association and Members of Minister of Trade.