The Nigeria Agric Business Group (NABG) on Thursday said it would provide improved tomato seedlings to tomato farmers to boost their production nationwide.
The Vice President of the group, Mr Emmanuel Ejiwere, made the promise in Kaduna during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai.
He said the group was interested in finding workable solution to the issues of tomato production in the country
Ejiwere said that his group would also ensure that processors had regular source of supply, while consumers would purchase at an affordable price.
He said that even in Kaduna, which is the largest producer of tomato in the country, farmers used only one per cent of improved seedlings, thereby making production low.
Ejiwere said that his group was in Kaduna to bring together experts in tomato production who had written reports on various challenges and possible solutions to improve the sector.
According to him, “these experts include different representations drawn from the government, farmers, processors and the off takers who are expected to discuss all their challenges so that at the end of the day, we will be able to create stability in the price mechanism in the country.”
“ Most tomato farmers, particularly in the Northern part of the country, sell their produce only to local and regional fresh markets because the alternative markets and the processors buy imported raw and processed tomatoes due to quality issues,” he said.
Ejiwere said the group would support farmers to meet buyer’s quality and quantity requirements by encouraging improved agronomic and handling practices.
In his response, El-Rufai promised to provide the group with land if they needed without any constraint.
“The only thing we require from you is to work with our farmers to improve their capacity by giving them improved seedlings in a very comprehensive out grower programme,” he said.
El-Rufai said that Dangote and Springfield Conglomerates were already in the state to invest in tomato production.
He expressed satisfaction with the presence of NABG in the state, adding that it would help farmers in producing quality produce and providing ready markets for them.