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Minister assures UE tomato framers of market   
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The Minister of Trade and Industries, Ms Hannah Tetteh has assured farmers in the Upper East Region of ready market for tomato to prevent glut of the produce during this year's harvesting period.

She said government was negotiating with the Investment Bank and other financial institutions to support the Pwalugu Tomato factory to purchase the produce.

Ms Tetteh gave the assurance when she visited the Northern Star Tomato Factory at Pwalugu in the Talensi-Nabdam District and some farmers in the Tono Irrigation site at Navrongo, to find out how best government could solve problems facing the farmers, on Thursday.

She said the factory was producing below capacity as it needed about 800 metric tones of tomato to fully operate every month.

Ms Tetteh said government would expand irrigation facilities, offer more farm inputs at subsidized prices to tomato farmers to enable them to increase production to feed the factory.

Ms Tetteh stressed that within the next six months the plight of the tomato farmers in the region would be over and said government was determined to revamp the factory to help reduce poverty.

She appealed to Management of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR) to ensure that the country became self sufficient in food production, especially rice.

Ms. Tetteh visited personnel of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service and the Ghana Immigration Servise at some security posts in the region.

She advised them to work harder to generate more revenue for development to prevent the country from relying on donors.

The Managing Director of ICOUR, Alhaji Issah Bukari said Irrigation facilities in Tono and Vea could be expanded if the necessary support was provided and suggested the adoption of drip irrigation.

He said that if farmers were resourced properly the country could become self-sufficient in rice production at least by 80 per cent.

Mr. Ahmed Bogobire, leader of the farmers, said people who took loans to invest in tomato production faced difficulties because of the lack of market.

He commended government for subsidizing the price of farm inputs in the area and appealed to the authorities to include tomato farmers in the package.

The Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo said that the Regional Coordinating Council would discourage traders from buying tomatoes from Burkina Faso, to create market for the vegetable in the region.

Source: GNA

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