The Federal Government (FG) has been urged to increase tariffs on tomato concentrate so that the country can benefit maximally while also encouraging local participation in the sector.

The Nation reports that this call was made by a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) who pleaded anonymity.

The senior official recalled that the 2017 tomato policy announced by the government had failed to yield the expected result. He, therefore, said that the government needs to formulate a more robust tomato policy to increase domestic production.

Dangote Tomato, tomato paste  

He said such a policy would enable participants to benefit maximally from the over N120 billion tomato paste market and discourage smuggling.

More details: Kabiru Danladi, member of Tomato Union of Nigeria (TUN), while speaking on the challenges tomato farmers face said that there was a need for the government to encourage them. He said this would enable the tomato industries to get the required feedstock from farmers which would, in turn, prevent them from switching to other crops.

“The reason why the Federal and state governments need to support the farmers adequately is that our country has the lowest tomato yields in the world at 5.47 tonnes/harvested area, compared to the global average of 38.1 tonnes/ harvested area.

“It is common knowledge that most of the tomatoes in Nigeria are grown in the North and transported via road to the South where the market is. The tomatoes are gathered in baskets mounted on each other and packed into trailers like sardines. It is no wonder that almost half are destroyed before they get to the market,” he said.

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[READ MORE: Dangote Tomatoes CEO seeks total ban on tomato import]

In a recently published Nairametrics article, tomato farmers in Kano reportedly expressed their fear and dissatisfaction over the suspension of the distribution of hybrid tomato seedlings by Dangote Farms. The suspension of the seedling’s distribution could pose serious production issues for the farmers this year. This is another challenge in Nigeria’s tomato industry.

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