Dangote Tomato Processing Company has urged the Federal government to place a ban on importation of tomato paste into the country.
The Company’s Managing Director, Abdulkarim Kaita, made the plea on Thursday during the inauguration of tomato seedlings distribution to 5,000 farmers under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme at Kadawa, Kura Local Government Area of Kano State.
He said: “We are appealing to the Federal Government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato like what it did to rice.”
Kaita stressed that the move would not only stimulate the local production of the commodity but also guarantee its self-sufficiency.
He expressed confidence that it (the ban) will encourage the development of more tomato processing plants, thereby creating more job opportunities.
The Managing Director lamented that the importation of tomato paste is still thriving as the commodity is being imported from Cameroon and Cotonou in the Benin Republic.
He disclosed that the Company had held talks with the Controller General at the Customs Headquarters over the issue but nothing has been done to stop the trend.
“It is only by putting 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.
Kaita said the company is working with the apex bank to provide tomato farmers with high yield seeds that are hoped to produce at least 40 tons per hectare.
“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,” he added.