By Mohammed Nur Tijani
Kano – Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) has called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of tomato farmers by prevailing on concerned agencies to ensure immediate implementation of tomato policy in the country.
The TOGAN Secretary General, Alhaji Sani Danladi-Yadakwari made the call at a news conference in Kano on Thursday
He said the call was necessary in view of the fact that tomato farmers in the country have remained in perpetual poverty and would remain so if the necessary measures were not immediately taken to address the situation.
“The Tomato Growers Association on behalf of its over 1.5 million members wishes to share with general public the situation the tomato industry is facing in Nigeria.
“This is the second time this year we are calling the attention of the government and its relevant agencies and ministries to come to the rescue of tomato farmers by enforcing fully the Federal Government tomato policy, “he said.
He said due to lack of much needed infrastructure such as packing houses, storage ware Housing and functional dams in rural farming communities, farmers have continued to lose over 40 per cent of their expected production.
He lamented that this season alone tomato farmers in the country had lost N10 billion due to poor market and lack of guaranteed off-takers.
He noted that Dangote Tomato Processing Company and Savannah Integrated Farm Ltd who have off-take arrangements with farmers have remained handicapped, thus unable to produce and their factories shut down.
Danladi-Yadakwari, therefore, called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of what it had promised to enable tomato growers remain in the business.
He also called on the government to investigate the reason why NAFDAC refused to bring to Justice importers or marketers of unhealthy tomato paste as revealed by Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN)
“The Almighty Customs should also be investigated on their very close relationship with the Tomato Cabal,” he said.