NIHORT trains agribusiness owners on tomato production
As part of moves to curb post-harvest losses and improve revenue generation among tomato farmers, a total of 50 agribusiness owners in Ondo State received training from the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).
During the training, sponsored by the lawmaker representing Akure South/North Federal Constituency, Alade Lawanson, the Director of NIHORT, Dr. Mohammed Atanda, said the move would ensure sustainable economic empowerment and growth in the commodity value chain of tomatoes.
Represented by the Director of Research, Dr. Olagorite Adetula, Atanda, emphasised that the training would achieve long-term economic empowerment and expansion in the tomato commodity value chain.
While noting that the training will strengthen government’s efforts towards diversifying the nation’s economy, as well as focus on agriculture as a key driver, he was upbeat that if the participants applied what they learnt, the new found knowledge will be applied to avoid post-harvest losses for marginal price increase.
According to her: “We are training and empowering them on tomato value chains to make them wealth creators using these commodities. The training will promote food security, employment opportunities, wealth creation, household income and health, especially among youth and women.
“At every stage of these commodities, there are enterprises that can be established to create wealth, employment opportunities and alleviate poverty.”
She stated that the institute had conducted numerous studies on tomatoes and its contributions to economic growth, stressing that the institute would continue to conduct studies to increase production and economic viability.
Despite being the 14th largest producer of tomato in the world, second in Africa, she emphasised that Nigeria is still the 13th largest importer of tomato paste in the world and third largest in Africa, attributing this to the short life span of storage of the commodity.
She claimed that this was to blame for the high post-harvest losses, which ranged from 35 to 130 per cent across the entire commodity value chain.
The Director drew attention to the fact that processing tomatoes will lessen seasonal overproduction, erratic year-round supplies, and the country’s tomato imports.
A scientist at NIHORT, Dr. Joel Akinfasoye, also emphasised the value chain of tomatoes, which includes processing into Ketchup, paste, dried, wine, and juice.