NIGERIA – Dangote Tomato Processing Plant, Nigeria’s leading tomato paste manufacturer, has said that its Kano plant was not shut down by dollar scarcity as reported earlier.
Abdulkarim Kaita, managing director, Dangote Tomato Processing Company, said the company is commitment to supporting Nigeria’s quest for diversification through the agricultural sector by sourcing its raw materials locally.
“We want to categorically refute that story which did not emanate from our company. We wish to state that our tomato processing plant is entirely dependent on local fresh tomatoes as its raw material and therefore does not require any foreign exchange for importation of its raw materials,” Kaita said.
“Our factory is now ready to commence operations in the first week of February as fresh tomato season commences,” he said.
Dangote’s tomato processing plant in Kano, which started in February 2016, suspended operations in May last year, owing to lack of fresh tomatoes caused by an invasion of a tomato disease called ‘Tuta Absoluta’ or ‘Tomato Ebola’.
Nigeria is the 13th largest producer of tomato in the world and the second after Egypt in Africa, yet the country is still unable to meet local demand because about 50 percent of tomato produce is wasted due to lack storage facility.
The country produces 1.5 million tons per annum, with 0.7 million metric tons’ post-harvest loss, even as tomato demand is put at 2.2 million metric tons per annum, the Ministry of Agriculture states.