In total, thirteen trucks with a capacity of 200 baskets conveyed in the fields to carry as much tomatoes as possible. The instructions, fill all the trucks!
Order executed as received from the Head of State, Faure Gnassingbe, according to the testimony of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) met by agridigitale in the locality.
What happened really ?
Togo is experiencing a period of plenty of tomatoes. To avoid speculation and tomato rot in the Lacs prefecture following the closure of Benin-Nigeria border, the head of state, according to various sources, has instructed to act as quickly as possible, in favor of the producers.
Generally, the tomato harvest takes place in the prefecture of Lacs between July and November and the Beninese traders represent the largest part of the customers of the producers.
Actually started in the second half of July, this year's crop coincided with an unfortunate event: the closure of the border between Benin and Nigeria .
"It's the Beninese people who come to buy our tomatoes that they used to sell back in Nigeria.The last time they came to buy, they didn't succeed to cross the border so, they don't come back because they haven't sold what they bought so we end up with huge quantities of tomato which is a perishable product", complains Ekoe Folivi, tomato producer met on his production site in the village of Kuenou .
Very quickly, the information was raised at the level of the Minister of Agriculture and then to the Head of State who quickly passed the instructions.
"Conscious that this is the main source of income for these populations and to avoid an unbearable situation, the President of the Republic ordered our military leaders to rush us urgently into the fields to proceed to the purchasing of these tomatoes from the peasants", Colonel Ali, director of the Togolese Armed Forces Procurement Group (GAFAT), told agridigitale.
After three purchase transactions at Aklakou, Atitogon and Anfoin the previous week, Colonel Ali in collaboration with the Prefectural Director of Agriculture led another massive tomato purchasing operation in the fields all day Wednesday August 28.
"The Minister of Agriculture connected me to his prefectural director so that he directs us to the most important networks so that we can make the maximum purchase, so we will do a big operation today with thirteen trucks and we will be in constant contact with the director to organize another operation in two or three days and so on until we realize the actual return of the traditional actors on the ground ", plans the director of GAFAT.
Basically, he added, "we recruited 200 women to do the processing and pack it into plastic kits for each basket before putting in cold rooms for storage. After all, our leaders will decide what to do with it".
In the different target areas namely Ganave, Anfoin, Atitigon, Aklakou, Fiokondji, Kuenou, the operation took into account the market gardeners and the farmers and the prices fixed mutually between the director of GAFAT and the producers in the presence of the Prefectural director of Agriculture, Animal Production and Fishery in the Lacs, Nouboukpo Ekuevi.
"The few Beninese who continue to come land with their own baskets they give to the producers and leave with a basket full of tomato (about 35kg) against 300fr. But the army offers 1000fr. So the presence of the army will increase the price at the level of these Benineses", rejoices the prefectural director of agriculture. A real sigh of relief for these producers who have almost gone bankrupt.
"Since our tomatoes tended to rot and the army on instruction of the head of state comes to relieve our troubles by buying this, we can only thank them", welcomes Elvis Edorh, spokesman of market gardeners of the Lacs Prefecture.