The Tomato crop is a common component of foods in Nigeria. It is used in nearly all soups, salads and vegetable. The demand for tomato consumption in Nigeria far outweighs the supply.
Farmers incur a lot of post-harvest losses thus resulting in lost farm income. Nigeria spends a lot of fortune on the importation of tomato paste. It is in an attempt to reduce tomato imports that some large scale entrepreneurs have set up tomato processing industries in Nigeria.
In the last two years, some of the industries are unable to produce optimally due to shortage in raw material supplies.
Stakeholders in the Nigeria tomato industry have agreed to hold annual tomato investment roundtable, as part of the initiative to build–up more investment required to stimulate production active along value-chain in the country.
Increasing investment in the sector, is believed would go a long way in generating activities that will address the current trend in which over 45 percent of tomato cultivated in the country are lost due to poor post-harvest management.
The stakeholders made this submission at a maiden edition of the Nigeria Tomato Investment Roundtable, held during the week, in the Dutse, capital of Jigawa State.
The roundtable which drew participants from within and outside the country, was declared opened by the Executive Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar. Also in attendance was the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Hafiz Abubakar as well as other important dignitories.
The lead paper was delivered by, Muhammad Sagagi, a Northern Nigeria based economist who recalled the growing market for fresh and processed tomato in the country, charging foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunity.
Sagagi, who is the pioneer, director –general of Jigawa State Investment Promotion Agency, disclosed that presently, the national demand for fresh tomatoes in Nigeria tis 3.5 million metric tons, while local farmers that grow this commodity can only produce 1.8 million metric tons. There is thus a 50% production shortfall which needs to be met.
Furthermore, about 45% of the tomato produced locally is wasted due to poor post-harvest management which results in income loss for the farmers. Farmers incur losses due to difficult marketing terrain. Baskets of tomatoes are transported to markets very far from the states where they are produced on bad roads. The tomatoes get crushed and are no longer edible by the time they reach the final destination market.
This is where processing of the tomatoes become a saving grace for the farmers.
(additional information from Business Day of May 11, 2018)