Tomato value chain in Ghana

Nicholas Amartey is a social entrepeneur with a passion for agriculture.  He is passionate about the transformation of Africa's agricultural production, processing and marketing using the value chain management approach. Using his knowledge and skills in agricultural value chain development, he is empowering smallholder farmers, young people, companies and organisations to initiate and attain growth.

Nicholas’ project highlights the systemic recommendations which can be made from comprehensively mapping a value chain and examining interdependencies among chain actors, and so identifying the need for upgrading activities across the chain, rather than treating them in isolation. He also proposes a journey of incremental improvements - ‘start small; small steps’ – to build the chain gradually in line with existing attitudes.

Tomatoes are the second most consumed vegetable in Ghana. Although the population consumes about 3 million tonnes a year, only 30% are grown domestically. Ghana is also a major importer of tomato paste - over 78,000 tonnes annually.

Tomato farmers are generally smallholders who own or rent up to 1.5 hectares. The most intense areas of tomato cultivation are limited by access to water and rainfall patterns. Nick’s project focused on Tuba, a district in the Greater Accra Region which includes irrigation facilities for around 220 hectares. Production is seasonal, with gluts during the rainy season, postharvest losses of at least 20% mostly due to poor seed quality, excessive use of fertilizer and chemicals, poor harvesting practices and poor handling during transport.

Nick started by conducting three consumer focus groups in the capital, Accra, with a total of 24 people drawn from different socio-economic backgrounds. He followed this up with individual consumer interviews and shopper observations. Next he interviewed retailers (4), wholesalers (2) and middlemen at four different markets; conducted two focus groups and additional in-depth interviews with farmers; met four input suppliers (seeds; fertiliser; irrigation and private extension services) and had discussions with three government agencies covering agribusiness, crop science and irrigation.

Some Ghanaian consumers are becoming sophisticated in their demand for quality products, and are ready to pay a premium for goods that meet their preferences. Nicholas reports that “The focus groups revealed that shoppers’ decisions are driven by taste, freshness, texture, colour and traceability. Supermarkets are responding to the needs of their high-end shoppers, who are willing and able to pay for quality and healthiness.”

Watch more about Nicholas' project below

Find out more about this Award, Australia Awards and the Australia Awards - Africa 2016 Agribusiness Short Course Award.

Last updated:
13 October 2021