NIGERIA – The Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) has called on the federal Government to establish processing plants in tomato producing regions as a means efficiently utilizing and adding value to the tomato value chain.
According to Alhaji Sani Danladi-Yadakwari, TOGAN Secretary General, the government should utilise the potential of high producing regions by establishing the plants in the areas especially during seasonal glut.
“There is a need for the Federal Government to build cottage processing plants in states where tomato is being produced in large commercial quantity to check seasonal glut,” he said.
Danladi-Yadakwari lamented that despite the Federal Government’s ban on importing tomato paste into the country, this commodity is still being imported by unpatriotic elements.
He, therefore, called on the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to ensure effective enforcement of the ban on importation of the commodity to save farmers from going out of business.
Alhaji highlighted lack of market access, poor handling practices and uncontrolled importation of the commodity as some of the challenges bedevilling tomato sector in the country.
Danladi-Yadakwari further commended the Kano state government for providing farmers with 10,000 packages of improved tomato seeds and 10,000 cartons of insecticide.
It has been estimated that Nigeria loses about 750 000 to 1 350 000 tons of tomatoes annually due to the status of in the tomato sector costing the country loss of currency.
The national demand for fresh tomatoes in Nigeria is 3.5 million metric tons, while local farmers that grow this commodity can only produce 1.8 million metric tons valued at US$687 million.
There is thus a 50% production shortfall which needs to be met which calls for importation to supply the local demand.
However, Stakeholders in the Nigeria tomato industry have been making efforts to set up initiatives to build–up more investment required to stimulate production active along value-chain in the country.