The Crops Research Institute, CRI, of the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has introduced its two new and superior quality Tomato varieties to farmers at Akomadan in the Ashanti region.
About a month ago, GBC News reported the breeding of ‘CRI Kwabena-Kwabena’ and ‘CRI KOPIA’ which are high yielding, early maturing and having longer shelf life in response to complaints by tomato importers, traders and consumers alike, about the shorter shelf life and inferior qualities of the local varieties necessitating a higher demand for the Burkinabe varieties.
During a field trip to some demonstration farms by the researcher and partners, the farmers said they cannot wait to upscale cultivation of the new tomato varieties in view of their better qualities.
According to the Ghana National Association of Tomato Traders and Transporters, an average of 70 truck-loads of fresh tomatoes are imported from Burkina Faso and distributed among major marketing centres across Ghana every week.
This is costing the national economy a huge import bill.
In an earlier opinion sampling among the imposters by GBC News, there is a higher demand for the foreign tomato varieties mainly due to the longer shelf life over the locally produced breeds.
A Research Scientist with the Crops Research Institute, CRI of the CSIR, Dr. Michael Kwabena Osei, with the support of the Korean Programme on International Agriculture, KOPIA and the government of Ghana researched into the available varieties and developed new breeds spanking more than a year.
Upon it’s evaluation, the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee approved two out of the three breeds thus ‘CRI Kwabena-Kwabena’ and ‘CRI KOPIA’ for upscaling and commercial production in Ghana.
Subsequent to this, the Researcher and representatives of the partner organisations have visited Akomadan, famous for mass tomato production in Ghana.
The team visited the fields of some of the participating farmers in the research work to learn at first hand how the crop was doing.
Some of the farmers shared with the team and the media their experiences bringing out qualities of the new tomato varieties.
They said the ‘CRI Kwabena-Kwabena’ and ‘CRI KOPIA’ fruit much earlier, have higher yield and sell faster on the market than the existing breeds.’
The team later met and interacted with more local tomato farmers to introduce the new breeds to them while listening to concerns and suggestions.
The Research Scientist with the CRI, Dr. Michael Kwabena Osei, in an interview, said the crop can perform optimally in the forest and transitional zones in addition to their resistance to drought and certain diseases including the Leaf Blight.
The Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Lim Jung-Taek, explained that the funding assistance for the research work is in line with the objective of KOPIA to support Ghana’s food security efforts.
When the certified seeds of the two new tomato varieties are eventually made available, the farmers could increase their yield from the present 7.5 to 10 tons per hectare to 20 tons per hectare.
The farmers expressed the hope of increasing their yields.
This would also enable them to dramatically improve their income and enhance their socio-economic circumstances.