Chai!! Nigeria Spends N16b Yearly Importing Tomatoes

Chai!! Nigeria Spends N16b Yearly
Importing Tomatoes

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The Federal Government yesterday
said Nigeria spends N16 billion
yearly on importing tomatoes.
Permanent Secretary, Federal
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Sonny Echono, who
puts the country’s domestic demand
for tomatoes at 2.3 million tonnes,
said the country only produces 1.8
million tonnes yearly.
Echono, who spoke at a workshop on
“Development and application of
post-harvest handling model for
horticural Crops” in Abuja, added
that 750, 000 tonnes of tomatoes is
lost to post-harvest.
He said: “Horticultural crops,
because of their delicate nature face
tremendous post-harvest challenges.
In Nigeria, specifically, tomatoes has
the highest priorities with domestic
demand of 2.3 million tonnes of
fresh production annually, national
production of 1.8 million tonnes,
waste of over 750, 000 tonnes and an
import bill of N16 billion to make up
for shortfall in local production.
“Post-harvest losses have been
estimated to range between five and
20 per cent for grains; 20 per cent
for fish and as high as between 50
and 60 per cent for tubers, fruits
and vegetables.”
Mr. Echono, who was represented by
the Director, Agribusiness and
Market Development, Engr. Jatto
Ohiare, said N717 million is spent by
the country in importing citrus.
Echono said the horticultural sector
is faced with problem of processing
and post-harvest handling, adding
that 1.53 million tonnes of citrus
production is lost yearly.
He added that government is
working with private sector to tackle
post-harvest challenges.
He said: “Citrus has national
production of 3.48 million tonnes,
contributing about 29.71 per cent of
the world’s production and 81.93
per cent of Africa’s total output.
However, 1.53 million tonnes of
citrus production is lost annually as
waste while an annual import of
N717 million has been recorded.
“The government of Nigeria among
other activities and in partnership
with the private sector is tackling
this through the establishment of the
Staple Crop Processing Zones where
horticultural crops processing plants
are being built and associated
clusters of producers identified and
assisted with necessary inputs/
infrastructures.
“The establishment of two export
crop handling, preservation and
conditioning centres.”

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