What do tomatoes have to do with mass migration? Tomatoes are a poker chip in global trade policies. Subsidized products from the EU, China and elsewhere are sold at dumping prices, destroying markets and livelihoods in Africa in the process.
Farmers in Ghana no longer work on their own fields. They now work on plantations in Italy under precarious conditions. The tomatoes they harvest are processed, canned and shipped abroad - including to Ghana, where they compete with local products.
The flood of cheap imports from China, the US and the EU has driven Ghana’s tomato industry to ruin. Desperate farmers find themselves having to seek work elsewhere, including in Europe.
Factories once helped secure the livelihood of tomato farmers across the region. Today, they lie empty. In the surrounding region, the market for tomatoes has collapsed and most farmers are no longer growing what could easily be Ghana’s ‘red gold’.
An agricultural advisor is trying to help local tomato farmers, but has little by way of hope to offer. Conditions like this are what drive local farmers to cut their losses and head for Europe.