The Federal government of Nigeria has resolved to banning of tomato products by year 2021 in bid to create more jobs for its citizens according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
He said the continued importation of tomato paste has resulted in massive job losses of Nigerians to foreign countries, a situation which had further impoverished local farmers and denied them a better life.
Speaking in Kaduna on Monday February 4, 2019 the minister insisted that the country will soon achieve self-sufficiency in tomato production, even enough to export and earn foreign exchange during the inspection tour of Gino Tomatoes Farm, which is a subsidiary of GBfoods Africa.
“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.”
According to him, “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. 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 imports of tomato products, simple”
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was also present at the inspection also buttressed the need to ban tomato importation and prohibit the importation of milk into the country soon.
According to him, “What does it take to produce milk; is it not to fatten the cow, give it water, give it the necessary nutrients and it will produce milk for you.
Yet, they say milk cannot be produced in Nigeria. We will confront it and I think they also should get ready to join in this train.”
Continuing, he said the tomatoes farm had further assured him that: “If we continue this programme in a very tenacious manner, that in two years, Nigeria will not only be self-sufficient in producing these tomatoes, we will also begin to export tomatoes and I am sure.
“We want to ask other people who are interested, to please join. Join and let us earn foreign exchange from exporting tomatoes rather than spending foreign exchange importing tomatoes into Nigeria”, he concluded.