Tomato production has been identified as one of the lucrative sectors of Nigeria, that will create employment and boost the nation’s economy. A firm believer in this, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who also doubles as Africa's richest man, has tapped into the sector by setting up a tomato processing company in Kano State.
This has by far boosted the economic growth of the state and has encouraged tomato farmers. This is in itself is not surprising. According to reports by the Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, which is a subsidiary of Dangote Farms, Nigeria spends an average of $360 million on importation of tomato paste. This, the company lamented has seen large sums of money was moved to other countries for importation.
Taking measures to prevent such capital flight, the company intends to boost the morale of the tomato farmers, who will be kings in their field, by enriching themselves through the purchase of their products by the company.
According to the Managing Director of the Dangote Tomato Processing Company in Kano, Mr. Abdulkarim Lawal Kaita, if the government can impose total ban on tomato paste importation as it has done on rice, the company would make the country sufficient in the production of the commodity within one year.
Shedding more light on their plans, he said the Dangote Tomato Company is now set to continue production as it has established green house that can produce 350 million seedlings annually. This he said would house hybrid seedlings capable of producing up to 100 tons per hectare in a season.