2011-02-28 19:30:15This article has been read 942 times.
The Northern Star Tomato Factory (NSTF) has started buying tomatoes from local farmers in the Upper East Region.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, to find out how MOTI was facilitating the tomato industry in the Upper East Region, Mr Joshua Azure, Regional officer of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) said the days when tomato farmers committed suicide over lack of market for their produce was now a thing of the past.
He said MOTI had not only assisted the Northern Star Tomato Company (NSTC) with funds to do the purchases from the farmers but had equipped the factory with necessary materials and paying the skeletal staff until it hands over to a private investor who would run the business of the company.
He said the problems the farmers faced were perennial and dealing with perishable produce.
He said it was difficult to avoid situations where the tomatoes of farmers would not ripe at the same time.
He said funds released for the company to do the purchases did not arrive in good time, but assured the farmers that things would return to normal now that the purchases had started.
He added that three vehicles had been arranged, to carry the produce to the factory.
Mr Kwabena Darkwa, farm manager of NSTC said the factory as at Friday had received 2000 forty kilo crates which it was buying from the farmers at GHc7.00 each.
He said though the factory had started work the vacuum pumps needed for changing the juice into a concentrate was faulty and electricians were working around the clock to put it back to work.
He said the machines were to run for eight hours each day and expected to produce 500 tonnes of tomato concentrate.