With the recently deliberated plan to place a ban on the importation of tomato paste in the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria has been urged by the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Niger, on Saturday to come up with the right structures before banning importation of tomato paste into the country.
The State’s Chairman of the association, Alhaji Shehu Galadima expressed this notion during an interview session in Minna, as he firstly confirmed his satisfaction about the idea of the planned ban initiated by the Federal Government on the importation of tomato paste into the country.
He further noted that stagnancy being experienced in the economy in terms of local and foreign trade was as a result of over reliance on importation of the agricultural commodity.
“You also find out that some of these importers import all kinds of substandard tomato pastes that can be hazardous to the public,” he said.
Subsequently, Galadima maintained if the right structures are not properly implemented by the government before placing the ban, the policy would end up being ineffective.
“Government must encourage the private sector to establish more tomato paste industries and also assist the local tomatoes farmers who will provide the raw material before such policy will work.
“Right now we don’t have enough industries to produce the quantity of tomato paste we need in Nigeria,”he said.
Meanwhile, it is of essence that stakeholders and entrepreneurs involved in the agricultural activities of the commodity to be on their toes, as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, recently announced that before the end of the year 2019, the government would place a final ban on the importation of tomatoes paste to give room for a monopoly of local production in the country.
Thus, he disclosed that a huge sum of about N250 billion has already been set aside by the CBN through the Bank of Agriculture to disseminate as soft loans to tomato outgrowers as part of their Anchor-borrower scheme.
According to him, over $22 billion leaves the country’s purse annually on the importation of tomato paste from China, stressing that the CBN intervention would not only empower local growers but strengthen the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
He disclosed that the inspection of Dangote’s tomato facility was part of measures to encourage private manufacturing companies to sustain local production of tomatos.