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General News
Pwalugu factory shut down 3/13/2008

... It was recommissioned last year
The Northern Star Tomato Processing Factory, at Pwulugu in the Upper East Region, has been closed down due to lack of raw materials.

The factory, which was recommissioned last year, cannot get its supply of tomatoes from tomato farmers in the region following the failure of the management and the farmers to agree on a number of issues. These include the type of tomato specie to be planted, and how much the farmers should sell to the factory.

Mr Philip Abayori, president of the Award Winners of Farmers and Fishermen''s Association, when contacted by the Ghanaian Times on the issue gave assurance of the farmers'' readiness to do business with the company based on negotiations that are of mutual benefit to both sides.

He said that the farmers failed to sell their products to the company because of its failure to assist them following the losses suffered as a result of the recent floods.

Mr Abayori explained that under the circumstances, the association on behalf of the farmers, approached the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) which granted them a GH¢564,OOO loan which included provision of inputs and tractor service.

He said as a result of the low funding, the farmers could not produce much to feed the factory.

Mr Abayori said following a misunderstanding between tomato farmers in the Upper East Region and the Ghana Tomato Traders and Transporters of Ghana, which controls and distributes tomato nationwide, the farmers entered into an agreement with the latter.

The agreement, he explained, was to ensure that farmers produced quality tomatoes to prevent the traders from travelling to Burkina Paso to purchase tomatoes and also to ensure realistic prices for the local tomato farmers.

Mr Abayori said the farmers in the region cultivated about 1,465 hectares of tomatoes from which 700 hectares had although ready been harvested and sold out.

He gave the assurance that the remaining 765 hectares would be enough to feed the nation when harvested in April.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kwame Bonsu, factory manager, has confirmed that the farmers have •failed to sell their produce to them because of a disagreement over pricing.

While the factory is buying a crate of tomato at GH¢15.00, traders buy it at GH¢45.00.
Source: Ghanaian Times

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