‘Poor varieties of seeds affecting tomato production’
Poor planting materials have been identified as a factor retarding production, higher yield and profitability of tomato production.Apart from this, poor agronomical practices have also hampered productivity of farmers per hectare.
To tackle the challenges in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s initiative to attain self-sufficiency in tomato production and processing, Olam Nigeria recently embarked on a pilot farming project in the country.
A major challenge confronting the production of tomatoes in Nigeria is a lack of good variety of seeds. Another problem is extremely poor yields as low tomato production leads to higher prices, making it unattractive for processors to purchase.
These challenges are also linked to the unwillingness of farmers to produce tomatoes in large quantity because they want to avoid product decay and losses because of lack of proper storage and preservation facilities.
In its experiment before full-blown commercial operations, while the tomatoes were transplanted in October 2019, harvest commenced in February 2020. Mr Reji George, Olam Nigeria’s Vice President in charge of Farming Initiatives, said preliminary results pointed towards a bountiful harvest.
He stated that each of the farms were on course to produce 30 metric tonnes of tomato per hectare, as against the 7.5 tonnes per hectare which is Nigeria’s average yield for tomato.Reji added that the commercial pilot farming initiative was a precursor to a backward integration project for tomato paste production.
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