Strange disease hits tomato farms in Northern Ghana

Some of the dying tomatoes on the field

A team of researchers have been deployed to the North Eastern part of Ghana after a strange disease destroyed swaths of tomato fields, threatening supplies of the staple food.

Farmers in that part of the country describe the outbreak as strange after it was first detected in the Bawku West Municipality in 2019.

The disease mainly attack the crop during early stages of fruiting, coupled with weak stems among other symptoms.

Dejection: Frustrated farmers on their tomato field

Correspondents Gaspard Ayuureneeya and Jonathan Ofori report that two other districts —Garu and Tempane —have also been hit with the disease.

The farmers who are already counting their loses from nematodes and fall army worms infestation say they are helpless.

53-year-old Akugre Baba, owns a 15-acre tomato farm at Teshie in the Bawku West District. He laments how the development is adversely affecting his work.

“We are trying to run away because we are helpless. The banks are chasing us. I spent about GHS3000 on this farm. I don’t even know how I will pay my loans. We are appealing to the government to help us,” he told DailymailGh.

“We detected this when we started applying fertilizers on our farms. We weren’t sensitized on how to apply it. We have spent a lot of money in this business and we can’t afford to lose our investment”, another farmer said.

Tomato prices in Ghana, may shoot up in the coming days, adding to existing hardships from over 50% rise in the price of petrol and soaring inflation in one of Africa’s largest economies.

“It is a bacteria disease and it was detected last year and so researchers have been deployed to various field. They are carrying out their investigation to recommend appropriate chemicals to fight the disease”, said the Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr. Ennor Francis.

He, however, allayed the fears of consumers in the region who are voicing fear because of scarcity.

In April 2017, Ghana launched the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) to address the declining growth in the country’s agricultural sector.

The PFJ was introduced to encourage Ghanaians to take farming more seriously than in the recent past and aims to make farming once more a respectable and profitable venture and create jobs.

By Gaspard Ayuureneeya and Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH

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