By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) has lamented that this season alone, its members in the country lost N10 billion due to poor market and lack of guaranteed off-takers.
The association’s Secretary General, Mr. Sani Danladi-Yadakwari stated this in Kano, where he called on the federal government to come to their rescue by prevailing on concerned agencies to ensure full implementation of tomato policy in the country.
He noted that Dangote Tomato Processing Company and Savannah Integrated Farm Ltd who had off-take arrangements with farmers had remained handicapped, thus unable to produce and their factories shut down.
Addressing journalists in Kano yesterday, the national secretary said the call was necessary in view of the fact that tomato farmers in the country had continued to remain in perpetual poverty and which would continue to rise if the necessary measures were not immediately taken.
He therefore, called on the federal government to ensure full implementation of what it had promised to enable tomato growers remain in business.
Danladi also said due to lack of the much needed infrastructure such as packing houses, storage ware housing and functional dams in rural farming communities, farmers were losing over 40 per cent of their expected produce.
“The tomato growers on behalf of its over 1.5 million members, wish to share with the general public, the situation the tomato industry is facing in Nigeria.
“This is the second time this year we are calling the attention of government and its relevant agencies and ministries to come to the rescue of tomato farmers by enforcing fully its tomato policy,” he lamented.
He also urged the government to investigate the reason why NAFDAC refused to bring to justice importers or marketers of unhealthy tomato paste as revealed by Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN).
“The almighty customs should also be investigated on their very close relationship with the Tomato Call,” he said.