The case of tomato in Ghana

Institutional support

Elizabeth J. Z. Robinson, Shashi L. Kolavalli
gssp working paper

Ghana’s commitment to the tomato sector has its roots in the 1960s when three large tomato processing plants were established in the country. Though set up as part of President Nkrumah’s development plan for Ghana, the current rationale for these processors typically is that they could be a solution to the perennial “gluts” in the tomato sector. And indeed processing to reduce gluts remains a popular refrain in the media and in government pronouncements. However, since they were opened, the processors have run considerably under capacity, if at all. Over the past two decades processing has all but stopped; yields and production of fresh tomato in Ghana have stagnated and possibly fallen; while in parallel, imports of fresh tomato from Burkina Faso and tomato paste from the EU and China have increased dramatically. There are limited time-series or recent data on yields, areas, or overall production of tomato. Data collection at the national level for tomato and other vegetables by SRID/MoFA stopped at the end of the 1980s, reflecting a lower commitment to vegetables than the main food security staples. Good research into the tomato sector has been funded and undertaken, but in isolation of any commitment to follow through with project recommendations. Against this backdrop, we consider the role of various institutions in agriculture, and specifically in Ghana’s tomato sector.