Nigeria 14th largest tomato producer, 13th largest importer of paste globally: NIHORT
Nigeria produces the 14th largest producer of tomatoes in the world. Ironically, it is the 13the largest importer of tomato paste globally.
These statistics were highlighted by Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, the executive director of the National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, at a two-day training for tomato farmers.
NIHORT began the training of 44 tomato farmers in the North-East on Wednesday in Gombe.
The training will coach the farmers in production, preservation and processing to add value to the produce.
Mr Olaniyan said the exercise would focus on nursery practice, production, processing, storage, utilisation, economics of production, marketing and record keeping.
According to him, tomatoes are a profitable horticultural product that provides income to farmers and agents involved in the value chain.
Statistics, he said, indicated that Nigeria is the 14th largest producer of tomato in the world and second in Africa.
“However, the country is also the 13th largest importer of tomato paste in the world and third largest importer in Africa in spite of the large scale production of the produce,” he said.
He said that Nigeria currently cultivated about 2.3 million as against 18 million metric tonnes produced in the past two years while the national demand stood at three million.
Mr Olaniyan identified the perishable nature of tomatoes and inadequate logistics for preservation and processing as the factors contributing to high post harvest losses.
Giving his remarks at the training inauguration, Mohammed Garba, the chairman, governing board of NIHORT said capacity building was necessary to enable them make the required economic impact.
He said farmers must be equipped with relevant skills and competencies in the horticultural value chain of various produce, to ensure sustainable development in the sector.
The institute had so far trained and empowered 3,528 persons since inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Mr Garba mentioned.
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