The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said he is optimistic that another revolution, similar to what was recorded in the production of rice, was about to occur in the tomato sub-sector.
Speaking during a facility tour of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory and farms, he noted that from what he saw in Kano state, the Dangote Tomato Plant is still the only real processing plant in Nigeria, unlike others that were merely importing tomato puree and concentrates and packaging same in the country.
Emefiele however stated that with the collaboration of the CBN, the initial challenges encountered by the project have been overcome with the acquisition of the greenhouses for the production of high yield seedlings.
The Governor 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”.
Emefiele also hinted that when the factory becomes fully operational, Nigeria 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.
The CBN Governor, who assured 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, also called on well-meaning individuals to come out and support the efforts of the Bank to create jobs in Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe assured farmers that with the firm commitment by CBN, he can only say that “better days are here”. Ogbe also assured the farmers of protective policies which may include inclusion of tomato in the import prohibition list.