Nigeria: Dangote resumes production of tomato paste
- François-Xavier Branthôme
On 7 March, amidst the influx of imported tomato paste products into the Nigerian market, Dangote Tomato Factory resumed production four years after the facility was closed. The Federal Government had earlier banned importation of tomato paste to encourage investments in local production and industrial utilization of local raw materials to create the multiplier effects of jobs and wealth.
But the policy has been frustrated by smuggling cartels through the land borders.
During a visit at tomatoes factory at Kadawa, the Managing Director, Dangote Tomatoes Farms, Sani Kaita, explained that the multi-billion dollars factory had resumed production after surmounting some difficulties. Sani said critical among the challenges included importation of tomato paste, shortfalls in the supply of fresh tomatoes and power failure. Tomato processing in Nigeria is also affected by very low farm yields, phytosanitary difficulties, and lack of transport facilities which impact the quality of raw material delivered to plants. He regretted that despite the capacity of the plant to process 1,200 tonnes of tomatoes per day, illegal imports and other negative factors posed threats to the survival of the factory.
As part of efforts to stimulate economy through agriculture, the company spent over N2 billion on production of tomato paste in the last two years. The fund was invested in tractors, farming, harvesting and processing equipment for tomato paste production.
Sources: allafrica.com, guardian.ng
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