FG To Place Total Ban On Importation Of Tomato Paste
The federal government is set to finally ban the importation of tomato paste before the end of 2019, the minister of agriculture and natural resources, Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Mr. Ogbeh disclosed this during a tour of the Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa, Kano State.
According to the report, Mr Ogbeh said the ban will encourage massive tomato production.
“The federal government has set aside N250 billion through the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank Agriculture to disburse as soft loans to tomato farmers as part of the Anchor Borrower scheme.
“Federal government will continue to encourage Dangote agro-farms and the farmers to grow massive tomatoes in Nigeria and with this kind of outfit, farmers will earn more with better seedlings from the Dangote greenhouse and get better results,” the minister said, according to the report, explaining that $22 billion is spent on tomato paste importation annually.
“The farmers will supply to the processor and eventually join tomato breeders in the world. In a short while, Nigeria will simply stop importation and dependence on other sources for tomato supply.”
“To this end, this output will encourage farmers to increase their production and provide job opportunity. Let me emphasize the federal government ban on those foods and other items we can produce in this country still remain on the banning list,” he said, according to the report.
Dangote Group, the Nigerian conglomerate owned by Aliko Dangote, launched the $20 million tomato processing facility in early 2016.
The tomato processing plant had a daily production capacity of 1,200 metric tons per day.
But operations at the plant were suspended in 2016 after an invasion by Tuta Absoluta, a leaf-mining moth, which destroyed tomato farms.