The Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) has lauded the Federal Government’s decision to include tomato in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ringim, the National President of the association, gave the commendation at a validation meeting of the Nigerian Agribusiness Stocktaking Report in Abuja on Friday.

The government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently assured tomato farmers of support with the necessary funds and inputs following an off-taker arrangement with Dangote Factory.

Ringim said that the current administration had been supportive of tomato farmers, who had been grappling with several challenges, including lack of access to land, inputs and funds.

According to him, the Federal Government is currently discussing with tomato processors to give them facilities at lower interest rate.

“The Federal Government has banned the importation of tin tomato which is our major competitor. They have officially banned the importation of paste through the land borders.

“Although, this has not recorded much success because importers of tomato paste still smuggle the product into the country.

“The government has done quite well in terms of policy, but the issue is, whether this policy is going to be fully implemented that is the challenge for us now.

“But at least, the policy side of it has been made now, we are at the implementation challenges,” he said.

The TOGAN national president said that about half of the tomatoes produced in the country did not make it to processing or final consumption, adding that the country still recorded high post-harvest losses.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the validation meeting was organised by Growafrica in collaboration with Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG).

Ms Akinnaoye Ndoping, the Country Lead of GrowAfrica, said that the forum was held for stakeholders to review and validate the “Stock Taking Report” of a baseline study of the agricultural sector.

“We are here with stakeholders to scrutinise the report and get it validated by getting their views, and move forward to actual implementation.

“The report gives us an oversight in-depth view of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, particularly the existing policy framework,” she said.

Mr Christopher Abiodun, the Founder, Farmcrowdy said that the meeting was timely considering the fact that stakeholders’ inputs were hardly taken in the process of policy formulation.

Edited by Grace Yussuf