Kenneth Afor with agency report
Nigeria’s tomato value chain has once again suffered a setback of not been able to meet up with the country’s tomato consumption demand due to inadequate production of the crop by farmers.
The inadequacy is caused by the constant rain fall in the northern part of the country and farmer’s inability to have access to the needed credit to expand production.
However, farmers in the region have switched to cultivating other crops as the rain persists.
One of the factories at the receiving end of this setback is Dangote Farms, located in Kano state, Nigeria.
The factory produces about 1,200 tons daily of tomato paste.
Abdulkareem Kaita, managing director, Dangote Farms, said that the company is loosing N30,000 million monthly and this has rendered employees idle since the beginning of the rainy season.
He said, “We know tomato is a seasonal crop before we started as it’s the case in China and Europe. What we set out and do was reduce the post harvest loss yearly to feed the factory.”
However, the factory have been shutdown because it could not produce beyond 20 percent production capacity.
According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2017, Nigeria consumption is an average of 2.3 million tons of tomatoes yearly, same with production but 45 percent of harvested tomatoes are wasted due to inefficient storage facilities and means of transporting them to the markets.
However, Dangote Farms is forging ahead with its initial plan of replacing tomato-paste imports.
Similarly, it has acquired a 5,000 hectares farm to grow a high-yield variety of tomatoes to meet its factory’s production capacity.
“With this, the output of the farmers would tremendously improve and the processing factory would record ample supply, “ Kaita said.
However, Kaita pleads to the government to implement and enforce its decision to curb tomato paste imports which will reduce the incidents of dumping of cheap paste on the Nigerian markets.
Kaita said, “The effective implementation of the government’s policy in restricting tomato paste importation will generate more investment in the tomato value chain, which will eventually lead to self sufficiency in few years to come.”