President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President Dr. Frank Jacobs, has called on the federal Government to grant the association 18 months access to foreign exchange to tomato producers to enable them backwardly integrate the crop to bring about better economic growth and create more jobs for the country.
Mr Jacobs stated that Nigeria has the potentials to be the leading exporters of tomatoes in the continent, what we need to do is tapping into the key nothern states in the country.
“One way, we could make this happen, is partner the northern states, since tomato cultivation thrives in the North where it finds favourable climate, Governors in the North should endeavour to work together with credible Manufacturers like Sonia Foods, to speedily achieve backward integration. Nigeria is the second highest Producer of tomato in Africa and 13th in the world. Still, it spends N11.7billion annually, on importation of tomato paste”.
“Sadly, about 750,000 of the tomatoes harvested in Nigeria, go to waste, as a result of poor Food Supply Chain, FSC management, price instability, and the supply preference of farmers and middlemen for urban markets than processors due to low farm gate prices”.
Also Corroborating, Managing Director of Sonia Food Industries, Mr. Nnamdi Nnodebe, had this to say,
“This development has become a challenge and has left manufacturers groaning under the weight of the current policy which has made it difficult for them to access raw materials.
“I am very confident, if given this allowance, it will work together for our good and for the economy, because Sonia Foods can compete a tomato factory farm, requisite for processing tomato concentrate, within two years.”
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