NIGERIA – Tomato Jos, Nigerian agro-processing company, has launched its much-anticipated Tomato paste variant into the West African market.
The new product, packaged in a 65-gram sachet, is the company’s first consumer product since the commencement of operations at its multi-billion-naira factory in Kaduna State.
Speaking at the unveiling event, an elated Mira Mehta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tomato Jos, said, “It is a dream come true. I am incredibly proud of the Tomato Jos team for their hard work and belief that we could achieve something on this scale.
“The facility is the only one of its kind in Nigeria that can produce sachet tomato products directly from fresh tomatoes. The product is currently available throughout Kaduna State, and we intend to expand to more states by the end of 2022.”
The processing plant sits on 500 hectares of land under lease from the Kaduna State Government, with a potential tomato cultivation area of 300 hectares.
It has been operational since March 2021 after it broke ground for commencement of construction in January 2020.
According to Mira, the investment in the factory attracted an initial capital outlay of US$30 million and an additional N1 billion (US$2.4m).
The venture has been successful courtesy of financial backing from players such as the Central Bank of Nigeria through FCMB, Goodwell Investments B.V. through Alitheia IDF, VestedWorld, the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund, The Morning Star Company, and other private investors.
Going into the future, Tomato Jos plans to raise an additional US$10 million in debt and equity to fund further growth and expand its reach across the country.
It currently has over 200 full/contract workers, and a network of over 3,000 smallholder farmers who partner with them to grow year-round yields well above the national average.
Other than focusing on the tomato value chain, Tomato Jos recently diversified its operations venturing into the grains sector.
Under the new move, the fast-growing social enterprise is seeking to boost the productivity, incomes, and resilience of maize and soybean smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State.
The company has received a N494 million (US$1.2 million) co-investment grant from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) to facilitate the venture.
Tomato Jos will leverage its grant and approximately N3.3 billion (US$8 million) of private funds to launch a 3-year maize and soybean out grower project in northern Nigeria.
The project will benefit 4,000 smallholder farmers who will work as out growers (also known as contract farmers) with Tomato Jos. Sixty percent of the out growers will be women and at least 40 percent youth.