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Govt to reduce N6b forex spending on tomato imports

LOCAL manufacturers have embarked on projects that will reduce the cost of tomato import, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) president,  Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, has said.

In an interview with The Nation, he said Nigeria currently spends N6bilion on importation of tomato, adding that the country is currently not producing up to its capacity of 1.8million metric tons.  “The spending cut of N6bn spent on the importation of tomato will come about from reduced importation of concentrates and consequent utilisation of local tomato seeds to produce concentrates. You are aware that some manufacturers have commenced backward integration projects which are aimed at producing their own raw materials. The current local installed capacity of tomato is estimated at about 1.8 million metric tons per annum but the actual production capacity is less,” he said.

Explaining reasons behind the preference of imported tomato to the local ones by Nigerians, he said: “Nigeria does not have the species of tomato seedlings that are suitable for the production of high quality concentrates. The type available locally reportedly contains 70 percent water. It is also reported that the crop yield of the local species is around 7 MT/hectares as against 80 MT/hectares and 110 MT/hectares in China and California respectively. The present volume of local demand is between 750,000 MT and 1.2 Million MT

 Jacobs further said the last tomato disease saga, which affected the availability of tomato in the country, resulted into ‘lull in the tomato market.’

 ”The value of the tomato market is $170million, which today at N365 per dollar exchange rate is about N62.05 billion. There was a lull in the tomato market. However, production was not so much affected because local species of tomato seedlings were not so much in use. What hampered production more was scarcity of forex. Some manufacturers had started experimenting with the use of local species when the disease broke out and that thwarted that experimentation,” the MAN chief said.

The post Govt to reduce N6b forex spending on tomato imports appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

This post was syndicated from The Nation Nigeria. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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