From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Nigeria may start the production and processing of tomatoes for the West African market as the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Kaduna State University entered collaborative research to revive the moribund tomato production and processing factory which has long been abandoned in the state.
NASENI Executive Vice Chairman Prof Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna made this disclosure in Abuja when a team led by the Vice Chancellor of the university Prof Mohammad Tanko, who was represented by Prof Ashafa Abdul, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), visited the agency to seek collaboration.
Prof Haruna stated that Kaduna is rich in mineral resources, noting its production of ginger and sugarcane, and adding that NASENI and the Kaduna State University could do collaborative research in areas peculiar to Kaduna by exploring machines that can be obtained to process ginger and sugarcane, which he said is rich in the state and if properly harnessed could solve the problem of unemployment and alleviate poverty.
‘A lot is happening in the state in the areas of agriculture and there are a lot of untapped resources therein. It is in Kaduna State that you will see a lot of sugarcane farming, ginger, tomatoes, pepper that are medicinal,’ he stated.
Though tomatoes generally need an irrigation system to survive, in Kaduna State it grows naturally.
He said Kaduna should develop an interest in researching these areas and make massive production of the crops.
‘There was a factory engaged in production and processing of tomatoes for the West Africa in the state which has been affected because of the economic situation of the country. We can do collaborative work in such a way that it will be beneficial to NASENI and the state,’ he noted.
According to him, it is within the mandate of NASENI to reach out to institutions and universities for collaboration in areas that are relevant for the development of the country, noting that NASENI is willing to work together with the University in training and organising workshop for its staff and donate some facilities especially for the faculty of Engineering which coming up in the university.
Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof Ashafa Abdul, who represented the Vice Chancellor, said that the purpose of the visit was to seek areas of collaboration with NASENI following the recent happening in the Agency.
According to him, the university is willing to enter into partnership with NASENI especially in training and workshop for ‘development of various programmes which we have in the institution and any other areas of possible collaboration. We are going to establish the faculty of Engineering and Agriculture. We can collaborate in a manner that will benefit each other.’