Tomato processor, SORWATOM, has said that it cleared the Rwf214.5 million arrears it owed to out growers who had a contract to supply the company with tomatoes.
Eight cooperatives, comprised of about 1,000 members, that supplied tomatoes to SORWATOM had spent four months without pay.
“The reasons why we took long to make this payment was the financial constraints that we suffered,” said Gloria Mukankuranga, the Director General of SORWATOM.
Besides the delayed payments, farmers also complain about the prices at which SORWATOM buys their tomatoes.
Jean Baptiste Muramutsa, a farmer says that a kilogram of tomatoes goes for Rwf100 on which they earn a net Rwf84 after transports costs.
“We wish the prices could be reconsidered and buy a kilogram at Rwf150 with transport costs inclusive or at Rwf100 without transport charges,” explained Muramutsa.
Meanwhile SORWATOM has got a new Belgium investor who owns 80 percent shares and has promised a new working relationship with farmers.
The company that employees 35 permanent staff and over 100 part time workers, has the capacity to process 3,590 tonnes of tomatoes annually.