The Upper East Regional Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA ), Mr Francis Ennor, says the directorate is planning to promote the use of organic fertiliser to enable tomato farmers to cultivate vegetables during the dry season.
Mr Ennor said organic fertiliser, which was safer and more available, would be promoted in the dry season for vegetable farming to improve production.
He was responding to journalists’ questions on challenges farmers faced in accessing chemical fertiliser and its effects on vegetable production during a field tour with the Regional Minister to tomato farms at the Zaare Operational Area near the Vea Dam in the Bolgatanga Municipality.
He said last year, many farmers did not go into tomato production because of the challenges of accessing chemical fertiliser and indicated that this year, 92 farmers were enlisted for tomato farming and taken through various agronomic practices adopted to enhance production.
At a two-hectare tomato farm of Mr Osman Azeko , a farmer, whose tomatoes were being harvested for the Southern Markets, Mr Ennor said because of the farmer’s zeal and interest, input dealers were contacted, and arrangements made for him to buy enough to prepare for the dry season tomato production.
Mr Azeko’s farm, also a demonstration farm, where various agronomic practices were used, the sizes of the tomatoes were different, some bigger than others, depending on the type of method used to grow them.
The Regional Director thanked the Municipal Director of Agriculture, Madam Lantana Osman for the hard work and the farmer, Mr Osman Azeko, who had committed himself to sustain his tomato production despite previous marketing challenges that discouraged other farmers from farming tomatoes.
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, who had shown interest over the years in promoting the tomatoes business in the region, was impressed with the work of the farmers.
He told the farmers to follow the new agronomic practices diligently to harvest good tomatoes to attract the local market and put a stop to tomatoes imports from Burkina Faso.
He called on MoFA to organise a farmer exposure trip to Burkina Faso to allow the farmers to pick up some practices to help improve their farms.
The Regional Minister and the team also visited some pepper and garden egg farms.