The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has resorted to a tentative solution to the tomato scarcity. Many would have thought that Tuta absoluta menace has been resolved, rather, the reappearance of tomatoes in Nigerian markets is coming largely from importation.
The resort to import came after so much noise has been made by stakeholders to tackle the menace of Tomato Ebola with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development promising to curb the crisis. But the disease is still ravaging tomato farms across the country especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. This has been a concern to many stakeholders in the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of AgroNigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram, said that tomatoes in the market were coming from two sources; massive importation from Cameroon and Benin Republic was the first leg, as consumers were in need of the fruit.
He added: “70 per cent of what we have in the market presently is coming through those corridors I am talking about. So we have an Eastern corridor coming from Cameroon and then we have a Western corridor coming from Benin Republic.
The second leg is from Greenhouse production. Greenhouse production from the other end of the market is more expensive, but actually, the wealthy are dependent on it and so, that is where they are getting services from and 25 per cent of tomato seen in the market is being done by Greenhouse. Then there is a five per cent, which is still coming from internal production from area like Gombe where terrorism issues have kept people away from those markets. The sanctity of the field that have been retained and maintained, so, Tuta Absoluta has not reached there in effect.”