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CBN Promises Massive Tomato Revolution In Nigeria

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has expressed optimism that another revolution, similar to what was recorded in the production of rice is about to occur in Nigeria, with a promise of the CBN to support massive tomatoes production in commercial quantity in the country.

 

Emefiele said he was particularly impressed by the potentials for the production of fresh tomatoes and allied products and the commitment of the stakeholders in the value chain in Kaduna and Kano states where he went to inspect two tomatoes farms owned by GBfoods, makers of Gino Tomato and Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms, respectively.

 

“This is just like a test ground. By the time we move to the permanent site, I’m sure we would all have stories to tell about the good things of Nigeria. We should just be grateful to God that we are in a position where we are witnessing this thing. Many more will happen. Whether we like it or not, as long as we’re producing this for our consumption and possibly for export, there’s no choice other than to ban this,” the CBN Governor said while inspecting a N2 billion Gino Tomato processing plant and farm in Kaduna.

 

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe who was also on the inspection tour said in a short while, the federal government would stop importing any tomato paste into the country. “It’s going to happen faster than people think. So, let the smugglers be aware; production not smuggling; production not importation – definitely not importation of what we can produce,” he said, adding: “Our children have to have jobs; our farmers have to have jobs for good living. We’ve abandoned them in the bush for too long. We believe that the future we’ve been dreaming of is here. Tomatoes are being grown here on a scale which in a short while, we will become exporters of tomato products.”

 

The CBN Governor also expressed his disdain for continues importation of milk products into the country. “I keep talking about milk for instance. Milk is being imported into the country for more than 60 years even before I was born. And I’ve told WAMPCO that we need to come back. What do we need to produce milk, is it not to fatten the cow, give it the necessary nutrients and water and it’ll produce more milk? And yet they said milk cannot be produced in Nigeria,” he worried, stating that “We will confront it. They too should get ready to join in this train.”

 

Ogbe says establishment of the two factories “underscores our belief that when people talk job creation on television, we talk about it on ground. And we’re emphasizing the point that a country either produces or perishes. Importation of everything we can produce is not the answer.”

 

The CBN Governor while speaking during a facility tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms in Kadawa, Garun Malam Local Government Area of Kano State, noted that from what has seen in Kadawa, he can rightly state that Dangote Tomato Plant is the only real processing plant in Nigeria for now, unlike others that were merely importing tomato puree and concentrates and packaging same in the country.

 

The plant has the capacity of milling 30 tons of fresh tomatoes a day. According to the Director, Corporate Affairs department of GBfoods, Dr. Teddy Ngu the whole land is about 100 hectares, while the farm area is about 30 hectares. He said about 16 hectares has already been cultivated, while the plan is to plant the entire area. “We plant in phases so that we can harvest in phases,” he stated, explaining that the idea is to keep the factory running continuously. “In the long run, we are going to move to 3,000 hectares,” he added.

 

The CBN Governor while speaking during a facility tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms in Kadawa, Garun Malam Local Government Area of Kano State, noted that from what has seen in Kadawa, he can rightly state that Dangote Tomato Plant is the only real processing plant in Nigeria for now, unlike others that were merely importing tomato puree and concentrates and packaging same in the country.

 

He further stated that the initial challenges encountered by the project have been overcome with the acquisition of the greenhouses for the production of high yield seedlings with the collaboration of the CBN. Mr Emefiele therefore, expressed delight that “with the initial daily production of a million tomato nurseries alone, more people would be encouraged to embrace farming thereby creating jobs for our people along the entire value chain and reverse the exportation of jobs”.

 

The CBN Governor also hinted that going by the brief he got from Chairman of Dangote Farms, Alhaji Sani Dangote, when the factory become fully operational, the country would not only be self-sufficient in tomato production in the next one year but will also be able to export to other African countries in the next three years’’.

 

While assuring tomato farmers of all the necessary support with the formal take off Anchor Borrowers Programme for tomato production as a result of the off-taker arrangement with Dangote Factory, Mr Emefiele also used the opportunity of call on well-meaning individual to come out and support the efforts of the Bank to create jobs in Nigeria.

 

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