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Upper East Tomato Farmers in Crisis

2007-02-28 23:05:47
This article has been read 779 times.

Pele Abuga
Mr Abuga Pele, (NDC- Chiana-Paga), on Wednesday called on government to step in and save tomato farmers in the Upper East Region who are faced with tomato glut.

"The farmers in the Upper East Region are in serious crisis because they were led into an unprecedented increase in production of tomato this season," the Member of Parliament said in a statement in Parliament.

Mr Pele said the crisis has already led to two farmers in the region committing suicide.

He said the crisis could be attributed to assurance from the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, which encouraged farmers to produce massively since the factory for canning would buy all their produce. "This assurance was reinforced by promises from authorities, including district chief executives and agricultural experts in the region."

The MP said many farmers contracted loans and others sold properties to go into tomatoes farming only to be told that the factory "would not buy because it was not ready. It has problem of electricity and a myriad of unanticipated problems."

He said, following this, there were some riots by the youth and farmers were confused and demoralised.

"It is very crucial for government and the National Disaster Management Organisation to enter the fray and find a lasting solution to the problem."

"Mr Speaker, two farmers from my constituency have already committed suicide and only the Lord knows how many more may follow." Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said it was important to find if the refusal of the factory to purchase the tomatoes had to do with quality or pricing.

The Minister said he was going to liaise with the Minister of Trade and Industry to find a lasting solution to the crisis. Earlier, the MPs paid glowing tribute to the memory of the founding fathers, chiefs and individuals who had contributed to the independence of the nation.

The members, contributing to a statement on Ghana's struggle for independence, the genesis, facts and architects by Mr Joseph Danquah Adu, said no person should be singled out for praise in the country's liberation struggle since everybody's contribution was important. Mr John Ndebugre, (PNC-Zebilla), said it was time to put away the blame game in national politics and forge ahead with unity.

Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, called on political leaders to learn from the past and do way with differences, which had undermined the development of the nation.


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