ACCRA, Ghana and India are collaborating under a Pilot Research Project on Tomato Production, which would ensure that there is an abundance production and supply of the crop in the country all year through.

The project which seeks to pilot tomato production technologies in three ecological zones Ada, Kumasi and Navrongo is also aimed at producing more pest resistant, high yielding tomato that would last for many days on the shelf.

Implementation of the Tomato Partnership agreement was signed between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana and the National Research Development Co-operation (NRDC) of India.

The three-year piloting of the project had ended and so the two institutions held an end of project ceremony in Accra, marking the beginning of technology transfer to Ghana.

At the ceremony, officials of the Crop Research Institute of CSIR, Ghana and the NRDC of the Indian, main implementers of the pilot project, expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the project, saying, when it is fully implemented in all tomato growing areas of the country, it would cut down on imports of tomato from neighbouring countries.

Stella Ama Ennin, Director of Crop Research Institute´┐ŻCSIR, said as part of the pilot project, farmers and extension officers were trained on best farming practices, and other irrigation programmes. She said by the end of 2018, all tomato farmers in the communities would have access to the tomato seed for production.

Professor Victor Kwame Agyeman, Director General of CSIR commended India for the partnership that would help improve the production of tomato in Ghana, boosting food security, as well as end importation.

Birender Singh Yadav, Indian High Commissioner, said the Embassy would work to ensure that the project become another shining example of India-Ghana partnership.

He explained that the project which involved human resource technology and capacity building was a south-south co-operation showing best practices that would help Ghana become self-sufficient in tomato production.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, whose speech was read on his behalf said the partnership was very welcoming and the result of the pilot would form the basis for replication in more tomato producing areas in Ghana.

He expressed happiness that the project would contribute to the sustainable increase in tomato production and processing in the country so as to, generate employment, reduce rural poverty and enhance agro-industrial growth of the tomato industry in Ghana.

Dr Girish Sahni, Head of CSIR-India, said science and technology was the only hope to bridge the poverty gap between the rich and the poor, and therefore scientists needed to come together to find solutions to the world’s problems relating to technology.