TOMATO PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA- Prospects of a bright future

TOMATO PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA- Prospects of a bright future

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Tomato is another crop that has been cultivated in Nigeria for several years. It is widely and it forms a good component of our daily diet.

It can be eaten fresh and in puree/ paste form. It is widely used in Soups, Salads, eaten fresh on its own consumed.

In Nigeria, Tomatoes grow very well in the northern states of the country especially, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa , Zamfara, Bauchi, Sokoto, Taraba  states. However, Kano state has the comparative advantage for the production of Tomatoes on a commercial scale.

I remember during my school days in Kano, we the students knew when tomatoes were in season.. We would see red carpets  for very long distances from the road side. At Areas E& F in Zaria, large tomatoes were the order of the day. Students were better off as the extra on top of your normal purchase “Jara” could be more than your actual purchase. The reason is not far fetched; if they don’t dash out the unsold tomatoes, it would rot and waste away.

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The Nigerian Situation

Nigeria is ranked 16th on the global tomato production scale, and she accounts for 10.8%  of Africa’s and 1.2 per cent of total world production of tomatoes.

However, the production is beset with many problems, such as diseases, nematodes, insect pests, high flower drop, all these resulting in low yield and poor quality fruits.
Unfortunately, about 45 per cent of tomatoes harvested in the country is lost due to poor Food Supply Chain (FSC) management; price instability resulting from seasonal fluctuation in production and the supply preference of farmers and middlemen for urban markets than processors due to low farm gate prices.
This loss, according to the Horticulture Transformation Tomato Value Chain Implementation Action Plan 2012 – 2015 of the federal government, comes to about 750,000 tons per year, amounting to several millions of naira. The country has not been able to meet domestic demand for tomatoes while traders from Cotonou flood the Mile 12 market in Lagos to buy tomatoes for consumption in their country.

According to i formation obtained from the FMA& RD, between 2009 and 2010, Nigeria imported a total of 105,000metric tons tomato paste valued at over N16 billion. This was to bridge the deficit gap between supply and demand in the country.

The National Tomato Technical  Working Group (NTTWG)

At the inauguration of the National Tomato Technical Working Group (NTTWG) Kano, the then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi revealed that there was a huge deficit in the supply of tomato required in the country, leading to a huge annual import bill on tomato paste to the tune of about N16 billion.
The development was due to high demand for tomato in the country, which unfortunately, the farmers could not meet as a result of poor storage methods.

“The demand for tomato is currently estimated at 2.3 million metric tons per annum, while the output is 1.8 million metric tons because due to lack of good storage facilities and poor developed marketing channels, up to 50 per cent of the tomato produced is lost”, he said.

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The working group was established to sensitize value chain actors in tomato industry, with a view to developing and boosting the production, processing, marketing and consumption of the commodity.
It is expected that the NTTWG will provide a platform for building sustainable partnerships between relevant ministries, department and agencies of governments and other stakeholders in the tomato industry, with a view to facilitating the development of domestic tomato industry.
We emphasize that the tomato industry has great potential in contributing to the economy of the country as Nigeria is the second largest producer of tomato in Africa.

Development Prospects for Kano  State’s Tomato Industry

Furthermore, Kano state ranks top in the country with dry season cultivation of over 30,000 hectares of irrigated tomatoes in the Kano River Irrigation Project (KRIP) covering Kura, Bunkure, and Garun Malam local government areas in the state. Other locations within the state that have dams are also relevant tomato production areas namely Makoda, Dambatta, Kunci, Kabo, Gwarzo, Kabo, Kumbotso, Madobi, Kibiya, Karaye, Rogo, Minjibir, and Garko local government areas.

In South West Nigeria, tomatoes are usually expensive during the rainy season. This is due to the fact that tomato production is low during the rainy seSon as farmers diverted resources to other crops. This is to  mitigate their loss.
Most of the Tomato farmers in the north are small scale farmers who face price fluctuations, inadequate transport system to convey their produce to major markets, poor/ inadequate storage facilities, lack of cold chain to preserve fruit quality, poor packaging facilities….most of them still use baskets with dry grass at the base.

Government Intervention- launch of the Tomato Working Group

The launch of the Tomato Working Group in Kano in January 2014 clearly marks the onset of the transformational change advocated by the FMA&RD for the Tomato Value Chain. A tomato processing industry will be established in Kano in the center of the raw material.

When this project is completed, the processing plant will off- take the products, while the high percentage of stock that usually rots away will be reduced. Furthermore, when the factory absorbs the bulk of what is produced locally, the farmers will also be encouraged to produce tomatoes  during the rainy season ( July- October).
Nigeria is this on the road to self sufficiency. Sustainability is thus key to success of the tomato value chain.

For the processing plants to succeed, the raw materials must be the variety required by the plant as they must be processable varieties; the branding and packaging must be right; storage of finished goods must be appropriate.

Finally the government’s role is crucial to the success of the tomato value chain – provision of infrastructure such as water and power supply facilities is a task that must be accomplished.

Central Bank of Nigeria
Federal Ministry of Agriculture&Rural Development
Action Plan on Tomato
Tomato Working Group

Author Bio


Mrs. Yemisi Akibu ( nee Awokoya) is the Chief Executive Officer of Belvyna Global, an agricultural consultancy service firm based in Lagos, Nigeria She is a former Team Member of the Agricultural Department of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of Nigeria's first generation banks. She holds a B.Sc degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Masters degree in National Development and Project Planning from the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She is passionate about the role agriculture plays in the social, economic, political development of a nation. She holds the view that one of the pillars of stability of a nation food security and this can only be achieved through the holistic development of the agricultural sector. She can be contacted via: or Remember, The Farmer Is King Enjoy my blog

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