The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan has urged the CBN to effectively harnessed tomato farming under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to meet the country’s 2.3 million tonnes annual demand.
Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, the Executive Director of the institute said this at a workshop on tomato value chain held last Wednesday in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Olaniyan said that tomato farming had the potential to generate N100 billion annually if the 1.8 million tonnes currently produced could be scaled to 2.3 million tonnes annually.
He underscored the need for stakeholders to come up with feasible interventions that would lead to adequate growth and development in the commodity value chain.
He said this would go a long way in reducing importation of tomato paste, create employment and promote food security.
“Nigeria has the largest area harvested for fresh tomato in Africa with 541, 800ha, Nigeria’s domestic demand for tomato is 2.3million tonnes annually but only 1.8million tonnes are produced.
“During dry season, the tomato sector experience glut resulting from bumper harvest, lack of guaranteed off takers and low value addition, inappropriate packaging for this produce results in loses.
“Yields are low because of poor production practices which include use of old varieties, low soil fertility, inadequate pest and weed control.
“To avoid the pitfalls of the past, it is important to come up with interventions that will scale up the value chain,” he said.
Also, Dr Olubunmi Ibitoye, the Head, Genetic Resources Unit of NIHORT said the workshop was part of the project on improvement of tomato value chain.
Ibitoye said that the work was sponsored by the Africa Union Commission with N48 million under West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI).
Ibitoye, the Project’s Principal Investigator said that the value chain workshop was aimed at bringing together the macro players in the tomato value chain to strengthen the partnerships among the players.
“About 400 farmers will be trained through farmer field school at the end of this project.
“The information generated from the workshop will be passed to the policy makers for implementation,” she said.