On Wednesday, June 15, the Federal Government declared a state of emergency on the tomatoes subsector in the country, as a result of the 80 per cent of tomato farms being ravaged by the tuta absoluta pest.
Government declared that a new tomatoes policy to address the current crisis was underway. This government decision is due to the scarcity of the commodity in the country which had led to an outrageous increase in the price where available.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tnvestment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, briefing pressmen after a meeting with major stakeholders across the tomatoes value chain disclosed that a technical committee that would draft the proposed policy would be inaugurated next week.
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The stakeholders comprised of packagers, relevant government ministries and regulatory agencies, farmers and processors.
The Minister said the meeting was convened in response to the current scarcity of tomatoes in the country occasioned by the outbreak of the tomato moth, tuta absoluta.
According to her, investors in the sector have also been upset about the CBN’s ban on foreign exchange allocation for the importation of tomato concentrate, a vital raw material for them.
The meeting was therefore convened to chart a way forward. She said, the major decision government has taken is to develop a tomato policy under the National Industrial Revolution Programme (NIRP).
Hajia Aisha Abubakar disclosed that a technical committee that would work on the policy draft should take-off next week so that we would have an approved plan in place before the next tomatoes season.
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Meanwhile, the price of tomatoes is reportedly gradually dropping across some markets in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. This is coming barely three months after most Nigerians were thrown into panic over the rising cost of tomatoes.