There seems to never be a shortfall of drama in the Nigerian business circle as somebody is always in the news over some squabble or the other. Potentially brewing up to being another messy argument is the issue of the 1717 tons missing tomatoes between Dangote Farms Limited and Pyxera Global, which could either be a case of Dangote gaffe or Pyxera lies.
Pyxera Global is the implementing partner of the Yieldwise Program, a $130 million initiative aimed at reducing post-harvest loss in the tomato value chain in Nigeria. The program is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and a monitoring visit was held recently in Kano State which brought stakeholders in the project together. It was during one of the presentations at the retreat that Mr Lekan Tobe, Pyxera’s Project Director of Yieldwise Program mentioned the controversial 2073 tons of tomatoes which is being hotly disputed. So, is it a case of Dangote gaffe or Pyxera lies?
Jafar Sani, field maintenance and compliance manager of Dangote Farms came out to declare the 2073 tons claimed by Tobe is fictitious as the farm has figure as received nowhere near that amount of tomatoes from Pyxera Global.
“At the forum, Mr Lekan Tobe, Pyxera’s Project Director of Yieldwise Program during his presentation flaunted figures that were deliberately cooked to impress the audience especially the representative of the Rockefeller Foundation, funder of the project. He stated in his presentation that through their intervention they have succeeded in supplying Dangote tomato factory 2,073 tons of fresh tomato. This is far from the truth as in total, Dangote tomato processing factory from the commencement of production in 2016 through to this season (2017) has only processed 2,200 tons of fresh tomato out of which Pyxera Global supplied only 356 tons of fresh tomato last year and none this year” Sani claimed.
Responding to the allegations made by Sani, Tobe insisted that the figures were not cooked. Rather, they were given from ‘contacts’ in the field, only one of which was their direct representative.
“They gave us these figures themselves, we have only one contact there. The management of the company gave us who is called Alhaji Bello, he is an elderly person. Last year and this year which brings the total to 2,073 metric tons which were what we presented. In 2016 dry season, our farmers supplied 1,358 metric tons while the dry season of 2017 between February and May, is 715 metric tons” Tobe argued.
Pointing out to what may be the cause of this misunderstanding, Tobe clarified that in his presentation, he mentioned ‘anchor buyers’ not Dangote Farms. “In the presentation, we only said anchor buyers, we didn’t say the company but that is their own assumptions that is them we are talking about.”
Could it be that Dangote Farms is just presumptuously assuming itself to be the only capable anchor buyer? Or is this just a weak excuse from Pyxera Global? Dangote gaffe or Pyxera lies? Decide for yourself.