The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) has said it is currently engaging the Trade Department of the UK High Commission to institute a guaranteed market trade route system for local tomato producers to supply supermarkets in the United Kingdom.
CAG’s CEO, Anthony Selorm Morrison, told B&FT that the partnership has become critical as the UK in the last few days has reported a shortage of tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables.
The Guardian, on February 25, 2023 reported that certain commodities – key among which is included tomatoes – are hard to come by in UK supermarkets due to poor weather reducing the harvest in Europe and North Africa.
The Guardian report also cited the consequences of Brexit rules and lower supplies from UK and Dutch producers, as well as the jump in energy bills to heat glasshouses as key factors leading to the shortages.
But Mr. Morrison said Ghana stands a chance to benefit greatly from the deficit, as the Chamber is finalizing discussions with the High Commission to export large quantities of quality tomatoes to the UK market.
The Chamber has identified key areas of cultivation in Dahwenya, Weija, Somanya, Akuse, Ada, Prampram, Sogakope, Kpetoe and the Winneba enclaves, and said this opportunity has the potential of creating thousands of jobs for young people.
“Transportation for tomatoes is key, that’s why these areas are prime locations and considered due to their proximity to the capital,” the CEO said.
He emphasised that local producers have what it takes, including the competitive and comparative advantage to produce for export, adding: “Issues of certification and quality are not of concern, but rather a guaranteed market”.
The tomato guaranteed market trade system, when finalized according to Mr. Morrison, will enable the export of at least £10million of locally-produced tomatoes to the UK market per annum for a start.
The idea, the Chamber noted, is that vegetable production is a demand-driven industry with supplies made based on demand.
The UK imports an estimated £1.5billion of fruit and vegetables annually. Tomato imports alone stand at over £200million pounds a year.
So far, Kenya and Uganda have already approached the UK in their respective countries to take advantage of the situation.