Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, has launched a N2.8 billion, approximately $7.6 million, greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.
Managing Director, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the plant has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm.
The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.
Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery it has created capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as potentially exporting surplus to neighbouring countries.
“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes.”
“Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.” Sani Dangote explained.
Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.
Dangote Tomato Factory resumed production of tomato paste last year March 2019 after years of shutdown following a challenging operating environment.
Among the challenges that had seen the shutdown of the factory included importation of tomato paste, shortfalls in the supply of fresh tomatoes and power failure, Sani explained.
Sani lamented on the increased importation of cheap tomato paste which had crippled operation in the factory despite having a capacity to process 1,200 tonnes of tomatoes.
“Dangote Tomatoes Factory came on stream about four years ago essentially to meet the local consumption and create complement the Federal Government’s policy on diversification through agricultural development,” said Sani.