Tomato Farmers in the Upper East Region, who used to feed the Pwalugu Tomato Factory are increasing shifting to onion farming due to the long delay in the re-opening the factory.
Mr Francis Ayinegebalah, a farmer, said over 40 of them had now gone into dry season onion farming.
He announced this during a field visit by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, to the dam site in Pwalugu.
He mentioned the lack of storage facilities, marketing and high post-harvest losses as major problems affecting tomato production.
These were making it difficult for farmers to make good returns on their investment.
“Onion farming is a good option as it has a better shelf life and saves us from a lot of anxiety during harvesting since it can be stored for some time when the market is not good, unlike tomatoes”.
Mr Ayinegebala has cultivated over nine acres of onion and he said the farmers found it disheartening that promises by the government to revamp the factory had remained unfulfilled.
He said although the farmers were appreciative of the subsidy on fertilizer and seed, they were forced to reject the onion seeds that came with the supplies because it was not suitable for the soil of the area and gave them low yield, last year.
“The seed is imported and not good for our soils and weather conditions.”
The farmers, this year, adopted the ‘Safari’ and ‘Dramani’ seeds found to more suitable for the soil but had to buy them from the local market.
He appealed to the government to invest in the production of local seeds that had over the years proven to be suitable for the area.
Ms Georgina Anabaa, another farmer, applauded the government for the subsidized fertilizer and said it had helped to increase crop yield.
Their main challenges now were the cost of fuel for operating their water pumps, poor seeds and the difficulty in accessing tractor services.
Ms Anaba who supports eight other family members in her household, called on government to help revamp the tomato factory.
It should also assist them to find market for their produce.
Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, the Coordinator of Coalition, asked that all opportunities under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) – supply of fertilizer, seeds, credit, extension services, e-agriculture and e-marketing were adequately addressed.
He said it was important to get policies right and properly targeted.