Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele has expressed optimism that another revolution, similar to what was recorded in the production of rice is about to occur in tomato production.
The CBN Governor said this while speaking during a facility tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms in Kadawa, Garun Malam Local Government Area of Kano State.
Impressed by the potentials for the production of fresh tomatoes and allied products given the commitment of the stakeholders in the value chain in Kano state alone the CBN Governor noted that from what was seen in Kadawa, he can rightly state that Dangote Tomato Plant is the only real processing plant in Nigeria for now, unlike others that were merely importing tomato puree and concentrates and packaging same in the country.
“with the initial daily production of a million tomato nurseries alone, more people would be encouraged to embrace farming thereby creating jobs for our people along the entire value chain and reverse the exportation of jobs”.
Furthermore, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, assured farmers of better days ahead, with a firm commitment by CBN for protective policies, which may include the addition of tomato paste in the import prohibition list for 2021.
In reference to this, CBN, Dangote Group of Companies and Kano State government have partnered to localise the production of tomatoes.
However the ban of tomato importation is not really sure as it will be difficult seeing Nigeria is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Problems of Local Tomato Production
- Tomatoes are first raised in the nurseries before they enter the field. The nursery supplies, greenhouse, fertilizers, and seeds are not cheap in Nigeria. Most of them are not produced in our country. So, farmers have problems with buying them.
- Transportation problems. Nigerian farmers usually put tomatoes in baskets. These baskets can be packed on the top of each other. Which means that the lower layers of tomatoes get crushed. Every third tomato is destroyed this way.
- Marketing challenges. Farmers usually hand the tomatoes to the middlemen. These people do not care much of the packaging system of tomatoes.
- The Federal Government does not provide any system to check the quality of tomatoes and tomato prices.
Meanwhile,local states like Kano, Taraba, Gombe, Sokoto, and a few others are most likely to gain from the the probable ban of tomato importation.