Consumers have decried the high cost tomato in markets in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some parts of Nasarawa State.
A News Agency of Nigeria survey on Tuesday in major markets in FCT such as Gosa, Utako, Wuse, Diedie and Garki, Orange, and Masaka, Auta-balefi in Nasarawa State revealed that the price of tomato is out of the reach of the common man.
The high price of tomato being one of the major ingredients in most Nigerian menus has been a source of concern for sellers and consumers, especially housewives.
Also peppers such as “tatase’’, “shombo’’ and “rodo’’ are expensive in the various markets.
Many consumers attributed the scarcity to challenges ranging from flooding to high cost of transportation, the activities of middle men and aging tomato farmers.
Mallam Abdullahi Galadima, a major tomato marketer said the problem had become a yearly occurrence since 2015.
He noted that the lack of storage facilities made the commodity to be expensive during the rainy season.
“It is usually a yearly occurrence around May to July during the rainy session when tomato is usually scarce because of lack of storage facilities during the dry season when it was cheap.’’
Galadima said that the nine states alone produced over 70 per cent of the tomatoes consumed in the country “and all of them do not have strong storage facility’’.
According to him, many of the tomato farmers are ageing and their children are not willing to embrace farming, especially with the advent of various value chain grains scheme.
In Orange market, a major tomato market in Nasarawa state showed an increase in price of tomato from between 200 and 400 per cent, while the big pepper popularly known as tatase increased by over 200 per cent.
At Utako, Wuse, Diedie and Garki a big basket of tomatoes increased from N5,000 to N18, 000.
Also at these markets, dustbin size basket of tomato is selling for N2, 500, N3, 000, as against N800 and N900 sold before the rains started.
At Gosa market, due to the high cost of tomato, some traders were covering their unripe tomatoes with ashes and some other unidentified substance to make them ripe faster.
A housewife, Mrs Adenike Adewuyi, said that before the scarcity became more serious, some traders were selling with bowls “but these days, they just arranged five to 10 pieces for between N1,000 and N500’’.
“Also tatase is expensive, but it is not as expensive as the traders are presenting it.
“They are only imposing high price because they know that housewives must buy tatase with tomatoes to make their soup tasty and more attractive,’’ she said.
“At Maraba, market a dustbin size of tomato is sold for between N3,000 and N4,000, depending on your bargaining power.
“Ten pieces of tomatoes cost between N300 and N350, while a small bowl of tatase cost N300 as against N50 in April and part of May.’’
A member, Tomato Sellers Association at Orange Market who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said Nigerians should have known by now that “this is the usual scarcity season”.
“Most of the affected farmers have abandoned vegetable farming for now because they are yet to recoup their money as majority of them do not have insurance for their farms.
“Majority of the affected farmers took loans from the cooperatives and all their efforts are now geared towards the loan repayments, so this is another contributing factor,’’ he said.
A marketer, Mallam Yusufa Aliko said that insurgency had made it difficult for famers in the North East to produce tomatoes and other ingredients.
He said that most areas affected by the insurgency were only producing little for consumption rather than the high production of distribution across the country.
“The little we are buying now is being produced by the states in the middle belt areas of the country, and this is what would be utilised till the raining season stabilised.
“There is also same problem with pepper and what is cheap now is onion because its storage system is good,’’ he said.
Mrs Biodub Olorungbebe, a food vendor said she had resorted to using dried tomato as alternative to fresh tomato to prepare her dishes to make a little profit in her business.
Edited by Grace Yussuf
BSADP promotes grapevines cultivation in Bauchi state
The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), said on Sunday that it had perfected plans to promote the cultivation of Grapevines as part of efforts at encouraging production of cash crops in the state.
The Director of Agriculture and Technical Services of the programme, Mr Luka Daniel, said this in Bauchi in an interview with Nigeria News Agency .
Daniel said that the effort would encourage farmers to engage in the venture to meet local demand and also conserve huge foreign exchange being spent on the importation of the commodity.
Daniel dispelled the belief by most Nigerians that grapevines could not be grown in the country.
“Any person who says that grapevines cannot be grown in the country may be ignorant and does not know about grapevine production.
“We have assisted many people who are interested in the cultivation of the crop, both within and outside the state.
“In the horticultural section of the Programme, we have various species of the seedlings;the fact of the matter is that grapevines are presently being produced in Nigeria.
“We started it in the BASDP in 2012 and had trained students, farmers, extension officers and people who are interested in the production of assorted tree crops and those who need to have seedlings.
“We currently have nurseries in Bauchi, Azare, Dutsin Kura, Toro and other locations, and had assisted individuals in setting up farms,” Daniel explained.
Edited by Saidu Adamu
FG determined to boost tomato production – NIHORT
The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, says that the Federal Government has a robust plan to boost local production of tomato and create employment opportunities in the country.
Olaniyan said this at a workshop on tomato and ginger production, and value addition on Saturday in Kano.
The executive director, who said that tomato production in Nigeria was below demand, added that the production figure for fresh tomato was about 1.8 million tonnes while the annual demand was 2.3 million tonnes.
According to him, the Federal Government’s tomato policy is to significantly reduce post–harvest losses of tomato fruits, boost production and attract investments into the entire value chain.
He said that the workshop had become imperative as a means of creating more awareness on the importance of the commodities in achieving food security, sustainable livelihood and economic empowerment.
“The training will cover important aspects of the commodities’ value chains such as nursery practices, production practices, value addition, economics of production, marketing and record keeping.
“The training will also cover tomato value addition and processing in order to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply,” he explained.
Olaniyan further said that processing of tomato would reduce the quantity of tomato being imported into the country, especially during the lean season of supply.
“It is evident that improved production techniques and value addition must be taken seriously to attract sustainable levels of investment and stakeholders’ interest in ginger,” he said.
The executive director said that Nigeria was the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India.
According to him, Nigerian ginger verities are acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour, adding that they were preferred products in the international market.
He said that NIHORT had the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilisation and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and spices.
Olaniyan then urged the participants to pay critical attention to all sessions in order to make the best use of the golden opportunity.
Some of the participants, who spoke with , commended NIHORT for the training and promised to extend the knowledge acquired to other farmers.
Edited by Franca Ofili and ‘Wale Sadeeq
River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency
“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.
YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.
Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.
“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.
“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.
“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.
Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.
She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.
She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.
In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.
Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.
He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.
Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.
Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.
Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.
1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN
Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.
Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.
He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.
According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.
“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.
“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.
“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.
He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.
He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.
NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.