The federal authorities have recently announced plans to increase tomato production, to ensure food security for our people. Under the guidance of Notore’s CEO, Onajite Okoloko, we will supply our farmers with the tools they require to capitalise on these policies, and boost their tomato yields.
Speaking in Abuja, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, shed light on the authorities’ policies to increase our nation’s tomato production. Dr Enelamah noted that the government aims to achieve certain objectives, primarily to raise the local production of tomatoes for processing, as well as local consumption. The plans are also designed to boost local production of tomato concentrate and lower post-harvest losses, bringing new revenue streams for our farmers.
Commenting on these proposals, Mr Okoloko said: “We welcome our government’s plans to raise tomato production in our country. The tomato is a staple ingredient in the Nigerian diet, being used to make many of our favourite dishes, and if local production climbs, it will be easier for local communities to fulfil their nutritional requirements, without being required to import tomatoes at a significant cost. We will do everything possible to support the authorities in achieving these aims.”
We are devoted to aiding the government in fostering greater tomato production, to tackle our supply gap. According to All Africa, a continental news source, Nigeria produces 1.8 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of fresh tomatoes, but demand is 2.45 million MTPA, so we make up the shortfall by importing 150,000 MTPA of tomato concentrate, costing our economy US$170 million. Import expenses have raised tomato costs for our citizens, and as they comprise 18% of all vegetables in our country, we need to increase local productionto make it easier for our people to be self-sufficient.
This announcement follows the news that Nigeria’s authorities will move to restrict the importation of tomato paste, powder and concentrate into our nation, creating more business for local producers. News source 360 Nobs writes that the tariff charged on the importation of tomato concentrate, from 5% to 50%, while the import of tomato products for retail purposes, as well as those preserved with vinegar or acetic acid, will be outright banned, making it more cost-effective for businesses to turn to local suppliers. They will also impose a levy of US$1,500 per metric tonne of tomato product imports.
Expanding on plans
Our government’s latest efforts will expand on these plans to take Nigeria’s tomato production to new heights. They will implement these policies with the aid of several prominent public agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Water Resources. Also involved will be the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Bank of Industry, as well as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
Expanding on these plans, which come into effect in May 2017, Dr Enelamah noted: “This new policy is at the core of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, which prioritises agro-allied businesses, an area that we have comparative advantage. These measures ultimately, accelerates the growth of the manufacturing industry and deepens diversification.” It is believed that these policies could create 60,000 jobs in these sectors, helping our citizens boost income and increase their living standards.
Helping our farmers
We aim to help our farmers take advantage of this drive to boost national tomato supplies, by supplying them with the tools they require to hit this target. Our federal authorities have already made progress in this area, as their plans include adding tomato growing and processing to the list of industries eligible for the investment incentives administered by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission. They have also re-classified greenhouse equipment as agricultural equipment, so farmers will not pay import duties on these tools, making tomato farming more viable for our people.
We recognise that our customers require premium, cost-effective fertilisers, so they can produce the hardy tomato crops required to feed their communities. We supply a range of first-rate fertilisers – our bulk blended NPK fertilisers, for example, contain the nutrients – nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, which tomato plants require to grow. We make versions of these bulk blends available to local and regional markets, and deploy our Village Promoters to show their colleagues how to use them effectively, so our customers find real value from our fertiliser range, and increase tomato yields.
Creating a prosperous Nigeria
Continuing, Mr Okoloko said: “We have made it our mission to ensure that our nation’s farmers can easily access the supplies they require to raise their crop yields, so they can foster the stable food supplies our people need to realise a high quality of life. We will continue to sell our premium fertilisers at affordable prices, so our country’s agricultural specialists can capitalise on the authorities’ plan to increase tomato production, to produce more bountiful harvests and create a prosperous Nigeria.”