The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has undertaken field research to improve on tomato production at Domfete, in the Berekum West Municipality of the Bono Region.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as part of his two-day working visit to the Bono Region, inaugurated a GHC16 million WEDDI Africa Tomato Processing Factory and Farms at Domfete in the Municipality, under the government’s One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) programme.
The research work, according to Dr Michael Kwabena Osei, a Senior Research Scientist and Vegetable Breeder at the CRI, would enable farmers and tomato out-growers in general to cultivate quality seeds to feed the factory.
It is in line with the CSIR-CRI ‘vegetable seed system’ project being implemented with support from “Worldveg”, an international collaborator, with funding from the UKAID, aimed at testing and identifying quality tomato seeds to cut down importation.
The Berekum West District office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) partnered with the CRI to undertake the research exercise.
Dr Osei explained that the CRI was committed to doing quality research, saying the project titled “scaling variety and good agricultural practices in African” was also aimed at helping to identify disease resistance varieties of tomatoes and pepper.
He indicated that three tomato varieties were used on demonstration farms to test their quality and adaptation, adding experienced vegetable farmers were also involved in the field work.
The project, Dr Osei explained, was firstly carried out in 2020 at Akomadan in the Offinso North District of the Ashanti region, adding it hoped to reach out to several tomato and pepper growing communities nationwide.
He therefore appealed to the government and donor agencies to provide funding support to research work in the country to help provide quality seeds for farmers to improve productivity.
As part of the research, several farmers in the District sensitised on good agronomic practices like organic farming, so as to reduce application of pesticides and chemicals on vegetables.
Mr Penni Hillarius, an Agro-Economist for the WEDDI Africa Tomato Processing Factory and Farms, lauded the research and called on the CRI and its partners to help out growers and farmers to produce quality tomato that would meet international standard for export.
A tomato farmer, Patricia Ofori, explained that the farmers required quality seeds to improve production, and enhance their profits.