Nigeria will place a final ban on the importation of tomato paste before the end of 2019, the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbe has said.
Ogbe who made the disclosure in Kano while on a tour of the Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa, said the ban will encourage massive tomato production.
According to him, 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.
Ogbe while explaining that that $22 billion is spent on tomato paste importation annually, said, “ The 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, explaining .
“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.”
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who was also on the tour, said the bank supported Dangote greenhouse with N1.3billion to produce hybrid tomato seedlings to enhance massive local cultivation.
“The greenhouse plant will produce 3 million seedlings which will supply to farmers. With this hybrid tomato seedling, farmers will be able to produce over 70,000 tons per hectare against the 10,000 tons,” he said.
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.”
Dangote launched the company located in Kano in March 2016 to reduce importation of tomato paste.