The Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbeh disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded plan to ban the importation of Tomato paste before the end of the year 2019.
Mr, Ogbe disclosed this in Kano during a tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa. According to vigil360, the Minister revealed the ban will encourage massive production. He said the Federal Government has set aside N250 billion through the Central bank of Nigeria and Bank of Agriculture to be disbursed as soft loan to Tomato farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Program Scheme.
The Minister added, Federal government will continue to support and encourage Dangote Agro-farms and the general farmers to grow and cultivate tomato in Nigeria, this will, in turn, generate more income to farmers with better seedlings from Dangote Greenhouse an obtain a better output. He noted as the nation spend about $22billion to import tomato annually.
The farmer will be the supplier to the processing company and eventually will join tomato breeders in the world. This will upgrade their economy them in a short while and make the country stop importation of tomatoes. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emifele who was also present at the occasion revealed, the bank supported Dangote greenhouse with N1.3 billion to produce high breed tomato seedling to enhance massive local cultivation.
The greenhouse plant will have a capacity to produce 3 million seedlings which will be supplied to farmers. Consequently, farmers will be able to produce over 70,000 tonnes per each hectare of as against the 10,000. The Minister is optimistic that this will improve on the income of the farmers as well as a source of job opportunity to the farmers.
The tomato processing plant had a daily production capacity of 1,200 metric tons per day. But Tuta Absoluta, a leaf-mining moth, which destroyed tomato farms, suspended operations at the plant in 2016 after an invasion.