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Strengthening Opportunities in the Tomato Value Chain in Nigeria

Strengthening Opportunities in the Tomato Value Chain in Nigeria

First National Tomato Stakeholders summit

Grow Africa and the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) held a one-day Tomato Stakeholders Summit in Kano, Nigeria on 24 January 2019.  The 1st National Tomato Stakeholders Summit (NTSS) discussed the theme “Strengthening Opportunities in the Tomato Value Chain towards a National Self Sufficiency” and brought key stakeholders together to examine the many challenges facing the industry in the country.

Tomato accounted for about 60% of the global vegetable production at 177 million tonnes in 2016. Nigeria is currently the second largest producer of fresh tomatoes in Africa, producing 10.8% of fresh tomatoes in the region. Over the last decade, the production of fresh tomatoes in Nigeria has grown by 25% from 1.8 million tonnes to an estimated 2.3 million tonnes. 

In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Regional Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh highlighted the need for a mental shift in Nigerians. He noted that a desire for imported products aids smugglers and puts pressure on the Naira. 

In an effort to boost and increase domestic production, improve value and attract more investment, the Federal Government announced a new tomato policy in 2017. The policy aims to discourage importation by increasing tariffs on tomato concentrate from 5% to 50% and introducing USD1, 500 levy per tonne. Subsequently, the inclusion of tomato production and processing activities for investment incentives is a positive development. Incentives such as tax holiday and the introduction of zero percent import duty on greenhouse equipment are expected to increase investments in the tomato industry. 

The government has given farmers loans and is restructuring the BoA and encouraged all present to take up shares in the value chain. Goal is to reduce interest rate to 5%. There is now installation of the first solar powered cold room. The Minister also announced that the government is soon introducing a scheme to fund agriculture machinery purchase at 5% interest. He concluded by stating that the country is at a point where the future of the country is tied to its ability to create jobs, many of which will come from the agriculture sector. 

The tomato summit is a result of a cooperation agreement between Grow Africa the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) signed in May 2017. The collaboration is aimed at working towards to improving the business environment of private sector in agriculture and for smallholder farmers including connecting commercial partners with knowledge, expertise and resources where possible. The agreement also aims to identify key platforms to advance the development of the Tomato value chain in Nigeria. 

According to the NABG, there is a need to consolidate on these recent gains, by mobilising more private investment towards improving production and reducing wastage along the value chain.

The summit highlighted the new direction of the tomato value chain following the commencement of the implementation of the new tomato policy, addressed some key factors limiting investment in the tomato industry in Nigeria, proffered actionable solutions to pre and postharvest losses problems while also addressing production challenges faced by farmers. 

Grow Africa’s country lead, Etami Akinnuoye Ndoping noted that Grow Africa will continuously work with NABG to stimulate private sector investment in the tomato value chain,reiterating Grow Africa’s role as a convener aiming to facilitate and increase private sector investment. She also highlighting the next steps which include the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F), which will be hosted at NABG and through which private sector investors will continue to be engaged on value opportunities in the sector.

In attendance at the summit were key government officials, industry leaders, stakeholders, policy makers and partners in the tomato sector who share similar vision of developing and enhancing the tomato value chain in Nigeria and also to forge strategic partnership with local farmers and investors in the 12 largest tomato producing States.

In closing the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, expressed satisfaction with the summit and called all stakeholder to help locals boost their production and cut post-harvest losses.