Indian tomato varieties are all set to be grown in Ghana, after pilot studies have demonstrated higher yields and better taste.

An Indo-Ghana Pilot Research project for Tomato Production, launched in 2015, was declared successfully completed last week. The research highlights were shared and the two sides agreed to replicate and expand the cultivation of tomatoes.

The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) led the effort, with the Government of Ghana providing three plots of five acres each in different regions of the West African country. Field trials began in 2015 in Kumasi, Ada and Navrongo. “In addition to high yields, the Indian varieties gave better internal qualities and a shelf life of more than two weeks,” according to H Purushotham, CMD of the Corporation.The Indian effort was focussed on sensitising farmers in Ghana with high-yielding varieties and the latest farm techniques that would be suitable to West African soil. Accordingly, cultivation in greenhouses and on open fields was taken up using different seeds, fertilisers, irrigation methods, he told BusinessLine.

Ghana imports about 60 per cent of its requirement of tomatoes from neighbouring countries. In May 2010, it made a formal request seeking India’s expertise to take up a research project. That was followed up with an MoU in January 2013 between the NRDC and the CSIR, Ghana.

With financial support from the Ministry of External Affairs, the NRDC took up implementation in 2015 in different agro-climatic regions of Ghana. In the same year, as part of the Africa Summit in India, the MEA had firmed up the bilateral $2-million project.

At the concluding event of the project in the auditorium of the CSIR–Science & Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Ghana, attended by Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Special Development Initiatives, BS Yadav, High Commissioner of India, Girish Sahni, DG, CSIR India and scientists and officials from both sides stressed the need for replicating the project on larger areas, Purushotham said.