Against the expectation of the masses, the federal government has disclosed its intention to put an end to tomato paste importation.
A total discontinuing strategy is being put in place towards the importation of tomato paste into the country scheduled to take effect as from December, 2019.
Nigeria has been known to stand tall among the largest producers of tomato in the sub-Saharan Africa and currently the 14th largest producer in the world, yet we still import about 190 metric tons of tomato paste annually.
Early this month, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh mentioned the federal government intention to finally ban the importation of tomato product and other processed agricultural produce like milk.
Whereas, statistics provides that not less than 189,500 metric tons of tomato paste was imported into the country between the last two years.
This implies that almost 1.1 million metric tons of fresh tomatoes was imported whereby lots of Nigerian grown tomatoes suffer decay due to transportation challenges with lack of adequate marketing support.
This sad condition of the nation has no small effect on the local manufacturing companies like Erisco Foods Limited which was believed to have the largest tomato paste processing plant with the worth of more than $150 billion but was forced to shutting down due to accumulated taxes and tremendous decline in the trust for local products.
Therefore, this development proposed by the federal government will serve as a great relief to our local manufacturing companies and the Nigerian Marketing Strength of tomatoes as well.