The Federal Government is set to provide solar-powered cold rooms in Kano for the preservation of tomatoes, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Ogbeh made this known at the 1st National Tomato Stakeholders Summit in Kano recently. According to him, the cold rooms will be installed in about 15 locations in the state.
“In addition to that, the government will also provide cold trucks to transport tomatoes from one location to the other,” Ogbeh said.
The minister added that Nigeria and Brazil had signed a $1.2 billion credit scheme for the procurement of 10,000 tractors for farmers to boost the agricultural sector.
He said the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) would be re-positioned, with 40 per cent of the shares would go to farmers. He urged farmers, youths and women to buy shares in the bank because the government intends to put a five per cent interest on agriculture loan.
The President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Alhaji Sani Dangote, for his part said that tomato accounted for about 60 per cent of global vegetable production at 177 million tonnes in 2016.
According to Dangote, Nigeria produces 10.8 per cent of fresh tomatoes in Africa, making Nigeria the second largest producer of fresh tomatoes in the region.
“Globally, the country is the 14th largest tomato producer with 2.3 million tonnes in 2016,” he said.
Also speaking, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, restated his administration’s commitment to the revival of agriculture in the state. According to him, the state government has distributed 5,000 irrigation machines to farmers in the state with additional 2,500 pumps underway.