The federal government will soon ban the importation of tomato paste before the end of this year, the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said.
Addressing tomato farmers at Dangote tomato processing firm in Kadawa, Kura local government in Kano on Monday, Ogbeh said the ban was aimed at encouraging massive production of tomato by local farmers.
Chief Ogbeh said the federal government would invest N250billion into the Bank of Agriculture for the purpose of assisting Nigerian farmers with loan facilities.
He said, “Before the end of this year, we shall ban importation of tomato paste into Nigeria. We will rather export same to other countries.”
Ogbeh said federal government is aware of the suffering Nigerian farmers were experiencing and assured that the government had planned more goodies for them in the next 4-year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “I am proud of Kano farmers because since the time of late Audu Bako, the first governor of Kano state, they have been the best farmers in the country.”
The Chairman, Dangote Tomato Processing Company, Alhaji Sani Dangote assured that by 2023 Nigeria would start exportation of tomato paste.
Dangote said, “If we can get the right support from state and federal government, by 2021, Nigeria will not import a single kilo of tomato from abroad and by 2023 we will start exporting tomato paste to other African countries.
“In Kadawa alone, we have 60,000 hectares meant for tomato production. So far 200,000 farmers were engaged in tomato farming but they are producing only two million tonnes of tomato annually.
“So if we can engage 200,000 farmers and provide them with seedlings that can yield 70 tonnes per hectare, we can produce 16 million tonnes of tomato annually,” he assured.
Source: Daily Trust