By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
The Acting Director-General, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Professor Mohammed Kabir Yakubu says Nigeria is loosing over 40,000 tones of tomato annually due to lack of processing technology.
He made the disclosure in an interview with Journalists in his office in Zaria, Kaduna State on Monday.
Investigation reveals that a 30 kilogramme of basket now goes for about N3,500 and 1,000 kilogramme is one tone, therefore 40,000 tones will cost about N4.7 billion.
The D-G said: “What we want to do in NARICT is to help Government to establishe many small tomato processing plants in Northern Nigeria, because we lack processing technology.
“Those who processed tomato in Nigeria, they have to import tomato concentrates from China, Vietnam, India and other countries who produced tomato at high volume.
“We are going to meet with Ericsson next week, the idea is, we want to be able to mop-up excess tomato available at peak period and convert them into concentrates,” he said.
Kabir-Yakubu said Ericsson would tell NARICT the quality analysis, what they want in terms of moisture contents and many other things.
He said Ericsson would come and buy from the farmers, assuring that such move would eliminate a lot of waste, boost farming activities and improve farmers’ revenue base.
According to the Prof Kabir instead of carrying raw tomato from Northern to Southern part of this country incurring waste, farmers will now have value for their efforts.
“So, this small processing plants across Northern Nigeria will now convert everything into concentrates just like what we used to import,” he said.
Kabir-Yakubu observed that the mandate of NARICT was basically research and the results usually end-up at pilot plant stage.
He, however, said it was up to the entrepreneurs to see what they have for onward use in a larger capacity.
The D-G added that the institute had developed fertiliser processing plant and it was being managed by Zakaf under some arrangement.
“This plant has the capacity to produce 30 tones of organic fertiliser per day, it also processes inorganic fertilisers.
“But because of the importance of organic, we limit the facility to that. We have the capacity if we are engaged to produce enough fertilisers for the country.
“Al the same, we are into partnership with some state governments on the production of such organic fertilisers from neem,” he assured.
The D-G said plans were underway to reintroduce jude-bag in the country for improved health and global acceptability.