Berekum West tomato growers introduced to new varieties

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The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has introduced tomato growers in the Berekum West District, Bono Region, to new tomato varieties.

The new varieties known as “CRI Kwabena Kwabena and KOPIA tomatoes “were released by the CSIR in 2021 and had early maturity of 55 days, good shelf of between 18 to 22 days after colour break, high brix (soluble solids) of six and above, tolerant to early and late blight diseases.

Dr Michael Kwabena Osei, a Senior Research Scientist and Tomato Breeder at the Institute, said the new tomato seeds had higher yields, ready market, improved disease resistance and quality fruits, and urged the farmers to opt for the seeds.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a demonstration held for 75 tomato growers and agriculture extension officers at Jinijini, the district capital, Dr Osei said the varieties could produce 20 tons of tomatoes on a hectare of land, comparatively to the 7.5 tons of the local variety.

“Some of the tomato seedlings develop spores and impede fruit development in the wet seasons, but these two varieties can develop fruits despite these symptoms, and thereby making them unique,” he stated.

More so, the new varieties were open-pollinated, an indication that they could extract their seeds after a good yield and make them more resilient for re-planting, he added.

These new varieties had been developed for forests and transitional zones of Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and Ashanti Regions, Dr Osei said stating that plans were underway to conduct adaptive trials in the Upper East Region as well.

He said the high demand for tomatoes in the country, approximately 1,048,000 metric tons annually, including processing, underlined the need for tomato farmers to be inspired to opt for and plant new varieties to meet the national demand.

There was a deficit in the nation’s demand for tomatoes, saying growers could only produce about 500,000 metric tons annually.

Dr Osei said Ghana currently imported about 48,000 metric tons of fresh tomatoes from Burkina Faso, describing it as inadequate to meet the national demand.

Madam Gladys Serwaa, a tomato farmer at Domfete in the area, expressed appreciation to the CRI, and urged her colleagues to plant the new seedling for improved yields.

By Dennis Peprah/Benjamin Akoto, GNA

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