From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has disclosed that Nigeria imports an average of 150,000 metric tonnes of tomato concentrate per annum, valued at $170 million, due to inadequacy in capacity to produce tomato concentrate.
Enelamah, who made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja, said the ministry has developed a new policy for tomatoes, in line with the Federal Government’s goal of boosting production and improving the value chain to attract investment.
According to him, the tomato sector policy was being implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Water Resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria, he Bank of Industry and NAFDAC.
According to the minister, the current demand for fresh tomato was estimated at about 2.45 million metric tonnes per annum while the country produces only about 1.8 million metric tonnes per annum.
Despite the supply gap, about 40 per cent of fresh tomatoes produced was lost to poor post-harvest handling and inadequate storage.
Enelamah said the ministry was committed to sustainable investment in the value chain of the tomato sector, adding that agriculture and agro-allied processing were priority areas for achieving the ministry’s plan for growth and diversification.