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FG tasks farmers to produce 3m metric tonnes of tomatoes yearly

By Monday Osayande, Asaba
14 March 2022   |   4:01 am
Federal Government, at the weekend, expressed concern over failure by farmers to meet yearly target of three million metric tonnes of tomato for citizens, describing the current produce of 2.3 million metric tonnes as grossly inadequate.

Federal Government, at the weekend, expressed concern over failure by farmers to meet yearly target of three million metric tonnes of tomato for citizens, describing the current produce of 2.3 million metric tonnes as grossly inadequate.

The government spoke at the closing ceremony of training and empowerment of over 90 farmers on tomatoes and plantain suckers production in the Ndokwa East area of Delta State, organised by the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) in partnership with the office of Ndokwa/Ukwuani Representative, Ossai Nicholas Ossai.

The Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer, NIHORT, Dr. Lawal Attanda, urged farmers, particularly those involved in the production of tomatoes, to double their efforts to make the commodity available.

Attanda, who spoke via his Director of Research, Dr. Ephraim Nwanguma, said: “Good tomato production practice will improve yield as well as increase availability for processing which, of course, will go a long way in reducing the quantity of tomatoes imported into the country, especially during the lean season of tomatoes supply.”

He said the training was meant, specifically, at broadening what he called “social economic inclusion through the enhancement of food security, employment opportunities, wealth creation, household income, and healthy livelihood.”

He added: “Tomato is one of the most important and priority crops in the food security programme of Federal Government. It is an important component of the daily diet, a valuable raw material in processed products such as juice, puree, paste, ketchup/sauce, dry slice, powder and canned or bottle whole.”

“Tomato also provides several nutrients to the body, especially Vitamins A, C and K, and it is a major source of antioxidants and lycopene,” he said.

The Executive Director also highlighted the importance of plantains to farmers and other end users, saying it’s an important staple food crop and source of income, especially for smallholder farmers.

He added that plantains, which is a low capital agribusiness, is also lucrative, commercially viable and a money-spinner for those that understand the value chain.

NIHORT Executive Director, however, regretted that production of Plantains had affected by inadequate planting materials, slow rate of sucker multiplication, and infection by fungi, nematodes, and weevils.

Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ndokwa East chapter, Dr. Leo Uchechukwu Ogbuotoboh, on behalf of other trainees, commended the Federal Government and Ossai for the empowerment and assured them of more tomato production.