Nigeria is losing N28.4bn worth of tomatoes being produced in the country annually, the Project Director of YieldWise Nigeria, Lekan Tobe has said.
Speaking at a stakeholders convening in Kano on Thursday, Tobe said Nigeria is the 14th largest producer of tomatoes in the world and second in Africa producing 1.8 million metric tons of the crop annually and valued at N63bn.
Tobe said according to Central Bank of Nigeria’s records, the demand of the crop was 2.3 million metric tons, valued at N80.5bn.
However, he explained that “Despite the high demand of the crop, more than 45 per cent of the tomatoes produced in the country annually, valued at N28.4bn is lost after harvest due to some challenges.
“The challenges include poor infrastructure, access to markets, seasonal glut, inconsistent supply, variance in production cost, harvesting and transit practices, and competitive pricing of available foreign products.”
He pointed out that the challenges had led to the importation of tomato paste valued at 360 million dollars in the country annually.
Tobe said the challenges affecting tomato value chain in Nigeria needed a holistic effort by the concerned stakeholders to address post harvest losses.
In her speech, the Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa, Regional Office, Betty Kibaara, said “Because food loss and waste is an all-inclusive problem, eliminating it requires an all-inclusive solution that looks across the global food system to
identify where the biggest losses occur and provide incentives for solving the problems at root.”
She said Rockefeller was working in three countries, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania and the focus was to reduce losses on tomato in Nigeria, maize in Tanzania and Mango in Kenya respectively.
“We chose these three geographies because they illustrate the problem we want solve: up to half of these crops in the areas are lost to inefficient harvesting, storage, processing and time to market,” she said.
Kano state Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, represented by the Managing Director of Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (KNARDA), Professor Mahmud Ibrahim Daneji, said the essence of the convening was to create a synergy among the stakeholders in the tomato value chain.
Gawuna added that, “This will pave way for the entire developmental processes of tomato value chain concept in the nation with reference to Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna states.
“In pursuance to this, it is suggested that, policy direction, issues and challenges with reference to the current scenario should guide the discussion to eventual adoption of the strategic recommendations for the benefit of all.”