The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has expressed optimism that another revolution, similar to what was recorded in the production of rice production, was about to occur in the tomato sub-sector.
The CBN Governor said this while speaking during a facility tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms in Kadawa, Garun Malam Local Government Area of Kano State.
He noted that from what he saw in Kadawa, the Dangote Tomato Plant is the only real processing plant in Nigeria for now, unlike others that were merely importing tomato puree and concentrates and packaging same in the country.
He further stated that the initial challenges encountered by the project have been overcome with the acquisition of the greenhouses for the production of high yield seedlings with the collaboration of the CBN.
Emefiele therefore, expressed delight that “with the initial daily production of a million tomato nurseries alone, more people would be encouraged to embrace farming thereby creating jobs for our people along the entire value chain and reverse the exportation of jobs”.
The CBN Governor, according to a statement, also hinted that going by the brief he got from Chairman of Dangote Farms, Alhaji Sani Dangote, when the factory becomes fully operational, the country would not only be self-sufficient in tomato production in the next one year, but would also be able to export to other African countries in the next three years.
While assuring tomato farmers of all the necessary support with the formal take off Anchor Borrowers Programme for tomato production as a result of the off-taker arrangement with Dangote Factory, Emefiele also used the opportunity of call on well-meaning individual to come out and support the efforts of the Bank to create jobs in Nigeria.
Also, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe assured the farmers that with the firm commitment by CBN, he can only assure the farmers that “better days are here” just as he assured the farmers of protective policies which may include inclusion of tomato in the import prohibition list.
The Deputy Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Nasir Yusuf Gauna, in his remarks stated that the state has really keyed into large scale agricultural production by partnering with Dangote Farms by way of rendering all necessary assistance for the take-off of the project.
According to him, the state government has also been subsidizing farming activities in several ways.
On his part, the chairman of Dangote Farms, Alhaji Sani Dangote expressed the readiness of the company to produce about one million seedlings daily in addition to processing enough for domestic consumption provided there are right policies in place including restriction on importation of tomato puree.