See One Great Reason Why Africans Especially Nigerians Should Venture Into Tomato Production And Processing - AGRIC GIST


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Friday, 25 August 2017

> See One Great Reason Why Africans Especially Nigerians Should Venture Into Tomato Production And Processing

The Director General of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Dr. Hussani Ibrahim, says Nigeria currently spend N6 billion annually in foreign exchange to import tomato.

Ibrahim, who was represented by the Director, Agricultural and Agro-Allied Department (RMRDC), Dr. Abiola Ogunwusi, disclosed this during the presentation of improved tomato seeds to vegetable farmers in Kaduna State, yesterday.
With an estimated annual national domestic demand of tomato at N2.4 million metric tons, only about 1.7 million metric tons of tomato are produced annually, thereby, leaving a deficit of 700,000 metric tons due to cultivation of existing low yield varieties and high post-harvest losses.
“The policy on import of tomatoes has stimulated the establishment of new and emerging processing plants as well as the revival of some hitherto comatose tomato concentrating plants,” he said.
Ibrahim affirmed that in order to operate the plants at optimal capacity and competitively, as well as satisfy the demand for table use, an additional five million metric tons of quality processing grade tomato fruits would be required. He added that travel distance between the farm gate and the processing plants must be reduced to ensure competitiveness of domestic products
“Improved seeds must be guaranteed in addition to adopting global best agronomic practices in production and handling,
“Through these efforts, the loss of good quality tomato would be minimised and it is for this reason that RMRDC came up with the initiative to develop tomato across the value chain with a view to solving the challenge of raw materials deficit in the sub-sector, he said.
He, however, urged the farmers to imbibe the lessons to be learnt from the training programme that will precede the presentation which is centred on best agronomic practices for the cultivation of tomato seeds.
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Kabiru Mato, also disclosed that the state is revitalising a lot of its value chains, and called on the research council to provide farmers with tomato seeds that grow continually for six months and not six weeks saying, “We are used to the six months seeds in Kaduna.”
Mato, who was represented by Jummai Ambi, a Director in the ministry buttressed that the government of Kaduna State is happy to collaborate with anybody bringing value to the state.


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