In a bid to curb the waste of enormous tonnes of Tomato being produced in Kano state and to encourage investment in its production, processing, marketing and export, the state government has inaugurated a 12-man Innovation Platform on Tomato Value Chain Development.
Kano, having one of the most advanced large-scale irrigation projects, is the hub of tomato production in Nigeria, which ranks as the second highest producer of tomatoes in Africa and 13th in the world (FAO 2011).
But despite the huge potential in tomato harvesting, being one of the world’s highly consumed vegetables, more than 50 per cent of the vegetable produced in the state in particular and other parts of the country in general is lost due to lack of preservation and humid weather condition exacerbated by poor marketing distribution and access to local and international markets.
Inaugurating the committee, Governor Ganduje stated that his government is determined to help the mainly agrarian population of the state to transit from subsistence to commercial agriculture for poverty reduction and rapid economic progress.
“Development indicators have shown that we must move from producing just what we can eat to exporting for economic development. We must harness our potential so that value would be added to the Tomato production chain”, the governor stated.
He maintained that the government is encouraging Dangote Group, through its newly established Tomato Processing factory in Kano, to get the raw material they need locally, thereby increasing the production capacity of farmers.
The 1,200 tonnes capacity per day factory would be producing fresh tomato paste for local consumption and export while about 40,000 farmers in the state would benefit from it through cooperative societies.
According to Governor Ganduje, the terms of reference of the Innovation Platform on Tomato Value Chain Development, include organizing tomato farmers into competent out-grower system that will sustain commercial tomato production and supply to processors, marketers and direct consumers in all seasons.
It is also mandated to enhance performance of tomato farmers by creating linkages amongst various actors in the tomato value chain that could improve access to inputs, services, information knowledge and markets as well as to improve coordination of activities of the various actors for establishment and sustainable management of tomato business joint ventures in Kano.
He added that it would also promote technical and institutional capacities of grassroots tomato production clusters for sustainable business and organizational management and control in addition to networking with tomato industries in emerging economies.
Responding, the chairman of the platform, Alhaji Rabi’u Auwalu Yakasai promised to execute the mandate with diligently and selflessly.
Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye, fnge, mni
Director General, Media and Communications,
to the Executive Governor of Kano state,