Nigeria is 500,000-tonne deficient in yearly tomato production
• NIHORT trains 50 youths in seedlings, processing
It has been disclosed that Nigeria needs to produce additional 500,000 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes to meet annual demand for local consumption, apart from industrial utilisation.
This was disclosed by the Executive Director of the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, while declaring open a three-day training for about 50 youths on how to lucratively cultivate and add value to tomatoes and telfairia (ugu vegetable) on Tuesday.
“Tomato production of Nigeria is still short of what is demanded. Production figure for fresh tomatoes is about 1.8 million metric tonnes while the annual demand is 2.3 million tonnes,” he disclosed.
Olaniyan said tomato is one of the most important and major vegetables grown in Nigeria; a valuable raw material in processed products such as juice, puree, paste, ketchup/sauce; dry slices; powder and canned or bottled tomato.
“It is a profitable horticultural crop that provides income to farmers and agents involved in its production and marketing,” he added.
He expressed the optimism that the training would help the you to create sources of income for themselves and others and in the would go a long way in the effort to make the country food-secure.
The training revolves around how to establish nurseries, cultivate and add value to one of the most important horticultural products in the country, tomato, and Telfairia occidentalis (ugu), widely consumed across the geopolitical zones.
And Olaniyan said: “Putting efforts in quality seedling production offers hope for sustainable tomato production. Nurseries provide employment opportunities for technical, skilled semi-skilled and unskilled labour.”
Also, the chairman of the governing council of the institute, General Garba Mohammed, represented by Mr Musa Lawal, tomato and ugu production are capable of generating employment, steady incomes for farmers and reliable sources of raw materials to industrial processors.
Director of Research in NIHORT, Dr S.O Afolayan, said the country had been sitting on the goldmines of agricultural resources but had not been mining such for lack of adequate equipment, caused by over-reliance on crude oil.