Abdulkarim Kaita Chief Executive of Dangote Tomato, Kadawa, Kano State has asked the Buhari administration to ban the importation of tomato paste.
Mr Kaita said this on Thursday, during the company’s distribution of tomato seedlings to 5,000 farmers, part of the Anchor Borrowers programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato like what it did to rice,” Kaita said.
He said this would boost local production and ensure that Nigeria was self-sufficient in tomato production. Mr Kaita said the ban on the importation of tomato paste would lead to the establishment of more tomato processing plants, thereby creating job opportunities for many people in the country.
He said the company had visited the Customs Headquarters on several occasions in a bid to stem the tide of illegal importation of tomato paste from Cameroun and Benin Republic.
“It is only by placing a total ban on tomato importation that the government can encourage farmers to grow the commodity for the country to be self-sufficient,” he said.
He said the company was working with the CBN under the Anchor Borrowers programme to provide tomato farmers with high yield seeds which would enable them produce a minimum of 40 tonnes per hectare.
He said that Dangote had established the biggest greenhouse in Africa, which had the capacity to produce 350 million seedlings annually. “There are 12 major tomato producing states in the country which if fully cultivated, in the next one year Nigeria will be able to start exporting tomato,” said Mr Kaita.