The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday expressed concern on whooping N11.7 billion spent on processed tomato paste on a yearly basis and canvassed urgent reversal of the ugly trend in the overall interest of the domestic economy.
Expressing the apex bank’s worries over the unbridled importation of the commodity, amongst other items, the Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi stressed that such a huge sum of money could better be invested to grow the commodity locally.
Sanusi, who made the observation in his welcome address at a one day stakeholders Forum on,’’Partnering to build a competitive Tomato Industry in Nigeria’’, in Abuja said that the simple reason for this situation was largely due to the dys-functional agricultural value chain system in the country.
He pointed out this resulted in about 50 percent of the tomato produced in the country being lost to lack of preservation, poor marketing distribution and access to markets.
Represented by the Deputy- Governor, Economic Policy of the Bank, Dr. Sarah Alade, Sanusi said globally Nigeria remained the 14th largest producer of tomatoes and second only to Egypt in Africa at 1.51 million metric tonnes valued N87.0 billion with a cultivated area of 254,430 hectares.