Philip Tengzu, GNA
Wa (UW/R), Nov. 08, GNA - Tomato farmers have been advised to cultivate improved tomato varieties in large quantities to meet the demand of processing factories.
They had also been advised to adhere to proper agronomic, harvesting and post-harvesting practices to maintain the quality of the tomatoes produced.
Dr Jery Nboyine, an Entomologist at the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Wa.
He said some farmers were not producing improved tomato varieties, the desired need of the processing factories, but rather concentrating on producing the conventional varieties, which fell short of the factory standard.
"There is the need for farmers to shift from producing tomato varieties that have more seeds and water in them and to produce those with more flesh, because the factories want those with more flesh," Dr Nboyine explained.
He said farmers should also be educated on post-harvest management practices like harvesting, storage and transporting to help reduce losses.
He said available statistics indicated that about 14 per cent of tomatoes were lost during harvesting, 20 per cent during transportation and 36 per cent lost during marketing.
Mr Emmanuel Wullingdool, the Policy Officer of the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC), blamed the excessive post-harvest loses to the lack of storage facilities for the tomatoes.
He said there ought to be enough storage facilities to help meet the demands of the processing factories.
Mr Wullingdool advocated for capacity building for farmers to enable them produce quality tomatoes.
Meanwhile, Dr George Mahama, an Agronomist at the CSIR-SARI, has advised the farmers to observe proper agronomic practices such as fertilizer application to achieve maximum yields.