Tomato farmers, transporters and traders rue in lack of standard selling weight

Lack of standardized unit of measurement for tomato has drawn farmers, dealers and transporters against each other as demand for the commodity increases.

While farmers are compelled to sell their produce in bigger wooden boxes instead of smaller ones against their wish, drivers are reluctant to transport tomatoes in large boxes because it makes them prone to motor accidents.

They are faced with incessant burst tyres leading to many accidents as they carry bigger boxes.

This has left members of the Tomato Box Producers who produce between 8,000 and 10,000 boxes a day in a fix.

Ghana imports between 70 and 80 trucks of fresh tomatoes daily in the lean season from Burkina Faso and Niger.

Tomato Truck Drivers Association’s spokesperson, Ishaq Nsowah worriedly explains, “last year we took 114 boxes of each truck but we decided to stop and do 100 boxes which eventually stopped the accidents.

We don’t like carrying the bigger boxes because instead of the truck to move faster it will not.”

Earlier this year, the Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association met members to agree on a standardised box for trading.

Chairman, Eric Osei Tuffuor says the 23 by 24 metres will be adopted to avoid cheating in the trade and also adopt measures to punish defaulters.

But the Deputy General Secretary of the Tomato Traders and Wholesalers Association, Theresah Amakye Fiawotso says this initiative cannot hold because Kumasi, Greater Accra, and Eastern region, all having their own box sizes.

“We have tried so many times to differentiate the boxes but it hasn’t worked.

She says traders would be incurring losses should they take the smaller boxes.

Currently, the truck drivers charge at least between 8,000 Ghana Cedis for Ouagadougou -Accra single trip.

They are proposing an increase in the charges due to the situation.