Nigerian Government to develop tomato policy

The Nigerian Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is to develop a tomato policy to address the current crisis in the sub-sector.

This was the major decision at a stakeholder meeting hosted by the Minister of State in the ministry, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Abubakar told journalists at the end of the meeting that the ministry would inaugurate a technical committee next week to draft the proposed policy.

“This meeting was convened in response to the current scarcity of tomatoes in the country occasioned by the outbreak of the tomato moth, `tuta absoluta’.

“Our investors in the sector have also been upset about the CBN’s ban on foreign exchange allocation for the importation of tomato concentrate, a vital raw material for them.

“So, we all came together to chart a way forward. The major decision we have taken is to develop a tomato policy under our National Industrial Revolution Programme.

“A technical committee that would work on the policy draft should take-off next week so that we would have an approved plan in place before the next tomato season,’’ she said.

Stakeholders across the tomato value chain, including farmers, processors, packagers, relevant government ministries and regulatory agencies were represented at the meeting.

The country has been hit by tomato scarcity that has pushed up the price of the essential vegetable beyond the reach of the common man.