BURKINA FASO – The President of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traoré has officially kicked off the construction of a tomato processing plant worth USD 8.1 million in Bobo-Dioulasso.

The project, which is funded by the Agency for the Promotion of Community Entrepreneurship (APEC), aims to increase the country’s capacity of tomato paste production both for domestic consumption and for exports.

According to information relayed by the local media, the construction work will spread over a period of 6 months occupying an area of 3 hectares and will have a production capacity of 5 tons of tomato pastes per hour.

Once operational, the plant is expected to create 100 direct jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs, according to the authorities.

“Burkinabe tomatoes are largely sold raw to foreign buyers while imported tomato pastes remain present on the domestic market with high costs for consumers, without the possibility for them to attest to the quality of these products,” asserts Mariama Gnanou, governor of the Hauts-Bassins region.

The p project aims to stimulate the creation of community businesses specializing in the production, processing and marketing of the country’s resources in different sectors of activity, including agriculture.

In Burkina Faso, tomato production reached 290,000 tonnes in 2021, according to FAO data, much of which is exported to Ghana.

The development of the processing facility is expected to give a boost to tomato production not only in Burkina Faso but also in its neighbouring countries.

A recent article published by Springer reveals that tomato farmers in West Africa face challenges due to inadequate storage and processing facilities. Nigeria alone incurs over 40% loss in their 1.8 million metric tons annual yield.

Additionally, the Nigerian tomato industry has faced challenges due to the influx of foreign tomato paste imports.

Despite the ban imposed by the Nigerian government on tomato paste imports, unauthorized foreign products continue to flood the Nigerian market, undermining local manufacturers and posing potential health risks to consumers.

In a bid to boost production and food security in West Africa, the World Bank, through the International Development Association (IDA), has increased its efforts in agricultural risk management by providing funding for the Food Security Resilience Program (FSRP), which has received an endowment of USD 766 million.

FSRP works to increase agricultural output by adopting climate-smart technologies, promoting intraregional value chains, and building capacity for agricultural risk management.

Their data reports that to date, over 7.6 million farmers have received agricultural goods and services and over 200,000 metric tons of fertilizers have been distributed to vulnerable farmers in West and Central Africa.

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