Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has said the Federal Government will ban the importation of tomato paste before 2019 ends.
He said this while he was touring the Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa in Kano State. He added that the ban would encourage tomato production across the country.
Ogbeh revealed that the government has earmarked N250 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Agriculture to give out loans to farmers. He said this was a part of the Anchor Borrower scheme.
“Federal government will continue to encourage Dangote agro-farms and the farmers to grow massive tomatoes in Nigeria and with this kind of outfit, farmers will earn more with better seedlings from the Dangote greenhouse and get better results,” the minister said, explaining that $22 billion is spent on tomato paste importation annually.
“The farmers will supply to the processor and eventually join tomato breeders in the world. In a short while, Nigeria will simply stop importation and dependence on other sources for tomato supply.”
Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, who was also on the tour, said the bank supported Dangote greenhouse with N1.3 billion to produce hybrid tomato seedlings to enhance massive local cultivation.
Aliko Dangote launched the company in March 2016 to reduce importation of tomato paste.