The Managing Director of Dangote Tomato Processing Company, Kadawa, Kano State, Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, has commended the Federal Government for banning the importation of tomato paste into the country.
The managing director made the commendation in an interview in Kano on Tuesday.
“I want to use this opportunity to commend the Federal Government for the singular act.
“The information reaching us is that government has banned importation of tomato paste and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will support tomato growers with loan under the Anchor Borrower programme,” he said.
Kaita noted that enforcing total ban on importation of the commodity would enable local tomato processing factories to thrive, in addition to providing job opportunities to the teeming number of unemployed persons in the country.
“The importation of tomato paste from China had adversely affected the local tomato processing companies as local product was not being patronized adequately.”
According to him, his company plans to produce tomato paste in drums and sell it to packaging companies across the country.
He also commented on the decision to include tomato farmers in the CBN anchor borrower programme, saying the move would attract more farmers and boost tomato production.
“Eighty per cent of families or households in the country use fresh tomato for their daily cooking.
“The ban on importation of tomato paste will encourage many farmers to embrace the business.
“When the importation of rice was stopped, we witnessed massive production of the commodity across the country,” the managing director noted.
Kaita said Dangote tomato processing company which resumed production nine days ago, was yet to go into full operation due to non availability of fresh tomato to process.
“About eight days ago when we resumed operation we offered to buy the fresh tomato at N800 per basket but the farmers said the price was not acceptable to them.
“We increased the prices to N900, N1,200, up to N2,000 per basket but few farmers brought it at this price.”
He said the company which process 120 tonnes of fresh tomato daily was only able to process 200 tones since it resumed operation about nine days ago.
The managing director, however, believed that if given the necessary support, tomato growers would produce in excess of what the tomato processing companies would require for their daily operation.
“We need to grow the commodity all year round so that the factories would not close due to non availability of the raw materials to process.” he added.