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Nigeria to stop importing tomatoes by 2021

Staff Writer | February 8, 2019
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed the federal government’s resolve to ban the importation of tomato products into the country by 2021.
Chief Audu Ogbeh
Africa   Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh
He said the continued importation of tomato paste had resulted in massive job losses to foreign countries, a situation which had further impoverished local farmers and denied them of a better life, This Day reported.

This was just as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, stressed the need to ban tomato importation and further hinted on plan to prohibit the importation of milk into the country in the near future.

Both spoke in Kaduna recently, during an inspection tour of Gino Tomatoes Farm, which is a subsidiary of GBfoods Africa.

They insisted that the country would soon achieve self-sufficiency in tomato production, enough to even export and earn foreign exchange.

Commenting after inspecting the farm and its processing facilities which he later commissioned, the minister said: “In a short while, I assure you we will stop anybody importing tomato paste into this country.

“It is going to happen faster than people think. So, let the smugglers beware; production not smuggling; production not importation – definitely not importation of what we can produce.”

He added: “Our children have to have jobs; our farmers have to have jobs. Farmers are entitled to happiness, good living and we have abandoned them in the bush for too long. Now that people are joining hands to give them life, we are most grateful.

“And we believe the future we have been dreaming of is here. And go tell Nigerians that tomatoes are being grown here on a scale which in a short while, will make us exporters not importers of tomato products.

“Our target is two years from now, no more import of tomato products, simple.”