Dansa Agro-allied Ltd, a subsidiary of Dangote group, has called on the Federal Government to eradicate the importation of tomato paste and implement policies that will encourage the development of tomato processing plants in the country.
Executive Director of the company, Alh. S. Kaita, said this recently in Abuja, at the Feed Nigeria Summit 2018, while speaking on “the Pain of Infrastructural Drain on Output”.
Kaita further said that the company was lying idle in Kano because they lacked adequate infrastructure to enable continuity and the importation of Tomato paste made it difficult for the Government to pay attention to the existing plants in the country.
“A country like Nigeria has no business importing tomato paste, palm oil, milk, rice. We are the largest importer in Africa, while we are the second largest producers of Tomato in Africa. Look at the contradiction”. He said.
“Look at the Rice revolution, it just took one State governor to come up with that policy and it has changed the whole scenario. So many rice mills have sprung up, Taiwan, Thailand are crying because Nigeria is not importing rice. Now we are pushing the government to do the same thing for tomato and the policy has been approved a year ago but to implement it has become a problem”. He added.
The Director expressed displeasure over the unhealthy state of infrastructure in the areas where these tomato plants are located, stressing that it was a hindrance to the development of the plants.
“What the government are supposed to do in these zones is to go and clear the land, put up all the basic infrastructures, the roads, water, electricity, so that investors will site their factories in those locations and then the clusters of these farmers can easily deliver their crops to these investors”
“We had to provide these basic infrastructure, we had to run on generators, We had to provide the roads because roads are inaccessible to the farmers growing tomatoes in that region; from their farm to the factory, it can take them almost 24 hours because no vehicle could go in. They have to harvest these tomato in baskets, get push carts for over 5-10 kilometers to the factory“.
“This is a perishable crop; we are supposed to buy these tomato and process it into Paste, but by the time it reaches the factory, it is already Paste. The farmer has lost it through challenges of transportation, and now, we as investors, this company has been lying idle for the last three and half years, we cannot run it because we cannot access enough raw materials from this farms to run it”
He therefore urged the government to pay more attention to tomato processing plants in the country.