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Springfield Agro invests N200 million to revive tomato plant


Tomato-FarmSeals pact with GEMS4 to boost backward integration
With about N200 million expended on revamping the moribund Ikara processing plant in Kaduna State, Springfield Agro Nigeria Limited has stated that its investment in the tomato value chain will further boost local production and import substitution.

Noting that over $300 million is spent yearly on tomato concentrate importation, Springfield Agro Nigeria Limited, operators of Ikara Foods processing plant, has also sealed a pact with Growth and Employment in states Wholesale and Retail sector (GEMS4) development programme to address production challenges and inefficiencies in the wholesale and retail market system for the commodity.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, recently, the Managing Director, Springfield Agro Limited, Tarun Das, explained that the pact with GEMS4 will help to reduce post-harvest loss in the community as well as aid the supply chain through the out-grower scheme.

With a production target of 2,500 metric tonnes monthly, Das added that the firm will unveil its solutions through high yield technology while reducing the movement of tomatoes across the country.

Das added: “The purpose of this MoU is to provide a general framework for cooperation between GEMS4 and Springfield Agro Limited and to define activities of mutual interest that will facilitate the development of tomato value chain in Northern Nigeria to improve quality of tomatoes produced by smallholder farmers to meet standards and requirement of tomato processors.”The project will work to build upon the local capacities and to change the market incentives so that the sector better meets the long term needs of the poor, including women.

“Thus, the parties wish to collaborate in the organisation and implementation of good agricultural practices and good handling practices in the production, transportation and marketing of fresh tomatoes between the supply end of the value chain and the demand side to ascertain the supply chain integrity”.

On his part, Director, Springfield Agro, Victor Eburajolo noted that the company having identified the need to improve quality and standards of fresh perishable products decided to partner GEMS4 on the project, adding that the factory, which had been abandoned for almost 20 years had commenced operations in January and would be effectively deployed to add value across the tomato value chain.

He said: “It is believed that with collaboration involving the parties to explore tomato paste production from fresh tomatoes and retail ready produce packaging for the improved market channels in the near future, jobs and incomes can be created with value addition leading to reduction in wastages from production”.

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