India funds $2 mn greenhouse tomato production project in Ghana
Accra, Nov 4 (IANS) India is funding a $ 2 million project for the greenhouse production of tomatoes in Ghana to increase yields and boost the agricultural sector, the Indian mission here has said.
“The concept was developed keeping in mind the enormous dependence on tomato and tomato derivatives in Ghana and with the objective of increasing local production of tomato to boost the agricultural sector,” the High Commission said.
“Once the research establishes the high yield varieties suitable according to the agronomy of the region, farmers in Ghana would once again be able to espouse tomato cultivation on a large scale to make it commercially viable and remove the dependence on imported tomatoes for processing and consumption,” it added.
India’s National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) is jointly implementing the project with the Soil Research Institute of Ghana’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“NRDC has set up research projects in three location at Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, Ada in the Greater Accra Region and at Navrongo in the Upper East Region,” its cprporate communications chief, A. Pradhan told IANS in an email interaction.
Research by local consulting firm, Goodman AMC says Ghana currently produces over 300,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes, 90 per cent of which is consumed locally and accounts for 38 per cent of a family’s expenditure on vegetables.
The NRDC is has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CSIR to set up an Incubation Centre to facilitate the creation of start-ups to enable the transfer of technology.
The MoU would also support potential entrepreneurs in developing business ideas, business plans and models to boost innovation and productivity in various sectors. The CSIR will make the necessary arrangements to operate and run the Incubation Centre with technical assistance from NRDC.
The High Commission also said that through the MoU, NRDC will assist CSIR to develop a suitable business innovation platform for promotion of entrepreneurship and startups to fill this vital gap, thus leading to skill development of the youth .
Goodman AMC said the project has come at a time when the “demand for tomato paste (in quantity and quality) is also spreading in the sub-region and could provide a meaningful consumer base for locally-processed tomatoes”.
It notes, however, that Ghana’s tomato processing industry remains small and the country relies heavily on imports. Ghana is estimated to consume in excess of 100,000 tonnes of tomato paste annually at a cost of more than $100 million.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at email@example.com)