Nigeria to ban tomato paste before the end of 2019
- François-Xavier Branthôme
In early February, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed the federal government’s resolve to ban the importation of tomato products into the country by 2021.
He said the continued importation of tomato paste had resulted in massive job losses to foreign countries. “Federal government will continue to encourage Dangote agro-farms and the farmers to grow massive tomatoes in Nigeria,” the minister said, explaining that Naira 22 billion (Euro 53 million or USD 61 million) is spent on tomato paste importation annually.
Dangote Group, the Nigerian conglomerate owned by Aliko Dangote, launched the USD 20 million tomato processing facility in early 2016. The tomato processing plant had a daily production capacity of 1,200 metric tonnes per day, but operations at the plant were suspended in 2016 after an invasion by Tuta Absoluta, a leaf-mining moth, which destroyed tomato farms.
Government announced its intention just as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, stressed the need to ban tomato importation and further hinted on plan to prohibit the importation of milk into the country in the near future. Both insisted that the country would soon achieve self-sufficiency in tomato production, enough to even export and earn foreign exchange.
“If we continue this programme in a very tenacious manner, I am sure that in two years, Nigeria will not only be self-sufficient in producing these tomatoes, we will also begin to export tomatoes”, Emefiele said.
According to Emefiele, CBN supported Dangote greenhouse with Naira 1.3 billion (Euro 3.2 million or USD 3.6 million) to produce hybrid tomato seedlings to enhance massive local cultivation. “The greenhouse plant will produce 3 million seedlings which will supply to farmers. With this hybrid tomato seedling, farmers will be able to produce over 70,000 tonnes per hectare against the current 10,000 tonnes,” he said.
Sources: premiumtimesng.com, hortidaily.com, thisdaylive.com