ANALYSING THE CONSTRAINTS FACED BY THE SMALL HOLDER TOMATO GROWERS IN GHANA
Tomato yield in Ghana is lower than potential of 15t/ha about 7.5t/ha which is also lower as compared to neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, 12.5t/ha . This has resulted in importation of fresh tomatoes from neighboring countries, particularly Burkina Faso, a situation which is attributed to a number of constraints in the production and marketing chain. This study was conducted to identify the problems and suggest solutions to ameliorate same. Two hundred and forty (240) farmers in 24 communities in 12 districts, covering 5 agro-zones of Ghana were interviewed. Findings revealed that most farmers (52%) were still relying on their own stored seed for planting and 28% obtained seeds from the local market, accounting for over 80% reliance on informal seed sources. Majority of the famers (80%) indicated high cost of quality seed and unavailability of good seed of improved varieties, poor access and unreliable market for harvested tomato fruits, pest and disease build up as factors militating tomato production. The study revealed that 45% of farmers had received secondary education and only 17% were illiterates. It also revealed the gender roles in the production and marketing chain. Majority of the farmers (77%) were males and 23% females; aged between 30-39 and 40 years and above (84%). Making available to farmers high quality seeds of improved varieties and subsidizing the cost of basic inputs like fertilizers and agro-chemicals will help minimize these constraints and enhance tomato production.
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