FG plans solar cold chain equipment for tomato preservation
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the Federal Government will provide solar-powered cold rooms in Kano State for the preservation of tomatoes.
The minister disclosed this at the First National Tomato Stakeholders Summit in Kano on Thursday. The cold rooms, he added, would be installed in about 15 locations in the state.
“In addition to that, the government will also provide cold trucks to transport tomatoes from one location to the other,” Ogbeh said.
The minister added that Nigeria and Brazil had signed a $1.2 billion credit scheme for the procurement of 10,000 tractors for farmers; and to boost the agricultural sector.
The minster also hinted that the Bank of Agriculture would be re-positioned, adding that 40 per cent of the shares would go to farmers.
He urged farmers, youths and women to buy shares in the bank because the government intended to put a five per cent interest on agriculture loan.
The President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Alhaji Sani Dangote, said that tomato accounted for about 60 per cent of global vegetable production at 177 million tonnes in 2016.
According to Dangote, Nigeria produces 10.8 per cent of fresh tomatoes in Africa, making Nigeria the second largest producer of fresh tomatoes in the region.
He said: “Globally, the country is the 14th largest tomato producer with 2.3 million tonnes in 2016.”
Also speaking at the event, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje restated his administration’s commitment to the revival of agriculture in the state.
The state government had distributed 5,000 irrigation machines to farmers in the state with additional 2,500 pumps underway, the governor said.