From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
To reduce the volume of tomatoes imported into the country, the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has completed the training of over 150 farmers in Ndokwa Federal Constituency of Delta State.
The capacity building workshop which was organised in partnership with the member representing Ndokwa Federal Constituency, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, was aimed at equipping trainees with skills on how to improve tomato production.
Apart from tomatoes, the training also covered plantain sucker production to increase plantain production in Nigeria. Nigeria presently produces 2.3 million metric tonnes of tomatoes, resulting in a deficit of 700,000 metric tonnes of the national demand for tomato which is presently three million metric tonnes. In an attempt to bridge this deficit, the country imports an average of 150,000 metric tons of tomato concentrate annually, valued at about $170 million.
Addressing participants at the training, Acting Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIHORT, Dr. Ephraim Nwanguma, said though Nigeria is the second highest producer of tomato in Africa, efforts to bridge the demand deficit has made the country the third largest importer of tomato paste in the continent.
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