BETAMARK offers new lifeline to tomato farmers, processors
As part of plans to boost tomato production in the country, BETAMARK Production Company Limited has taken steps to support entrepreneurs with mentorship and machines to process their tomatoes from farmers.
Chief Executive Officer of the company, Duro Kuteyi, who stated this during a training workshop on tomato processing, in Lagos, said the aim of the workshop was to commercialise the knowledge and techniques of tomato processing gathered over the years through research and practical application.
“We have developed a concept to make Nigerians understand that they don’t need big equipment to start processing tomato, and it is something you can process in your kitchen.”
While noting that tomato crop suffers a 40 per cent loss, valued, between farm and market, he explained that the machine would help in increasing local processing capacity, create jobs, and save scarce foreign exchange.
Kuteyi said though the new technology could be capital intensive, the returns on the investment were good. He appealed to government to help the farmers to enable them embrace the new technology, as it holds a lot of potential for the country.
The CEO also implored the farmers, to be serious about the business of agriculture and to continue to apply new techniques to improve productivity.
Special Adviser on Food Security, to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanni Ganiyu Babatunde Okanlawon, represented by Head, Women in Agriculture and Nutrition, Lagos State Agriculture Development Authority (LSADA), Mrs. Justina Balogun said government is set to launch full-scale efforts to promote green house and aquaponics facilities to ensure stable cultivation of tomatoes.
He said as part of the plan to boost tomato production, government is offering incentives including providing the technologies at its various vegetable farm settlement at Iya-Afin, Badagry and Agbowa in Epe.
Okanlawon said there was plan to introduce aeroponics and hydroponics technologies of crop production to farmers, which is under demonstration at LSADA. He added that besides responding to rising industry demand for safe and reliable food supplies, government hopes to create employment opportunities for the youths.