BY: ONOME AMUGE
First City Monument Bank (FCMB)-financed company, Tomato Jos Farming and Processing Limited, has introduced the first Made-in-Nigeria tomato paste variant (Tomato Jos), into the Nigerian market.
The new product, packaged in a 65-gramme sachet, is the Kaduna-based company’s first consumer product since the commencement of operations, and is produced directly from freshly harvested tomatoes grown in the country.
The construction of the 3.5 tonnes/hectare, multi-billion naira tomato paste processing plant was funded by FCMB in 2019 through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) intervention fund to procure plants and machinery for the factory.
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The wholly-owned subsidiary of Tomato Jos Incorporated, also received investment support from Goodwell Investments B.V through Alitheia IDF, VestedWorld, the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF); The Morning Star Company, and other private investors.
Mira Mehta, managing director of the company, speaking at the unveiling ceremony in Kaduna, described the production of the tomato sachet variant as a dream come true.
“Though entrepreneurship is full of ups and downs, I feel encouraged whenever I see my passion for this business ignite in one of my colleagues.
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,” he said.
Mehta further disclosed that the product is currently available throughout Kaduna State, adding that the company intends to become a household name across Nigeria as it expands to more states by the end of 2022.
Yemisi Edun, managing director of FCMB, explained that the bank’s funding of the factory was part of its intervention campaigns to boost agribusiness, food security and food sufficiency in Nigeria.