Addulkarim Kaita, Managing Director of Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa, Kano State, has called on the federal government to ban importation of tomato paste.
Kaita made the call while speaking to journalists on Friday, after inspecting the newly established N3 billion greenhouses at Kadawa village, in Kura Local Government Area.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato like what it did to rice,” Kaita said.
He said the measure would boost local production of the commodity and, ensure that Nigeria is self-sufficient in tomato production.
He noted that the ban, if imposed, will lead to more tomato processing plants being established, as well as create jobs for Nigerians.
He said the company was putting a lot of effort in ensuring that Nigeria is self-sufficient in tomato production, saying the ambition was what informed the establishment of the biggest greenhouse in Africa, which has the capacity to produce 350 million seedlings annually.
According to Kaita, the seedlings could produce 12,000 hectares of tomato per season.
“There are 12 tomato producing states in the country with 171,000 hectares which if fully cultivated, in the next one year Nigeria will be able to start exporting tomato.
“The greenhouse which is the largest in Africa, is established to provide tomato growers with high yield tomato seedlings in the country.
“We are working with the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Anchor Borrower Programme to provide tomato farmers with high yield seeds which will enable them to produce a minimum of 40 tons per hectare,” he added.