NIGERIA— Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, has officially unveiled a 20 billion Naira (US$14.2) tomato farm, as well as the second largest processing facility in Nigeria.

Representing the president, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, graced the unveiling event, assuring Nigerians of the government’s commitment to ensuring food security in the country.

Plans to construct the facility date back to 2016, after negotiations with GB Foods Africa, a Spanish multinational company- they agreed on establishing a tomato plantation and processing facility expected to provide employment for 1,000 individuals.

By 2020, GB Foods Africa had already announced the operational status of its factory, initiating tomato harvesting and concentrate production.

Opening this facility is a part of a bold initiative by the government of Nigeria in strengthening its agricultural sector and reducing dependence on imported tomato paste.

Nigeria is currently ranked as the third largest importer of tomato paste concentrate in the world, according to the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).

In 2022, acting CEO of NIHORT Dr Ephraim Nwanguma, raised concerns on the disparity between the demand of tomato products in the country and the production.

“Tomato is one of the most important and priority crops in the food security program of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Nigeria currently produces 2.3 million metric tons as against the 1.8 million metric tons produced two years ago while the national demand is three million metric tons.

Good tomato production practices will improve tomato yields and increase tomato availability for processing. This will go a long way in reducing the quantity of tomatoes imported into the country, and most especially during the lean season of tomato supply.”

Situated in Gafara, a town the Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State, both the plantation and the processing factory cover an expansive 1,500 hectares of land.

When operating at full capacity, it has the capability to produce an impressive 650 tons of concentrate every day, with a workforce of 2,000 employees.

Nigeria has undergone significant agricultural progress under the leadership of Abubakar Bagudu, the current Minister of Budget and Economic Planning.

In addition to the tomato project, Bagudu’s initiatives have resulted in the cultivation of 47,000 hectares of cassava, as well as the promotion of bee farming and fishing activities.

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