Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited a subsidiary of Dangote Farms has unveiled an $8 million greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers. The nursery uses the Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria. It has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes 3 weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.
Opportunities created by the Nursery
The setting of up this nursery means that the country is now on the trajectory of being self-sufficient in tomato production as well as exporting the surplus to the rest of the continent. Currently, Nigeria consumes 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually. With this technology, it has the capacity to more than triple tomato production enabling the exportation to countries in the sub-region.
Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.
The on-going agricultural revolution in Nigeria
Currently, Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari is undergoing an agricultural revolution. The government has banned the importation of rice and chicken into the country. The rice and poultry industry of the country had virtually collapsed due to the smuggling of the products through the country’s porous borders. Moreover, the president took the extra step of closing its borders with neighboring countries to prevent the influx of smuggled products into the country.
The implementation of these measures has produced results as Nigeria is now the largest producer of rice in Africa. Similarly, poultry farmers have lauded the government’s measures as they now have high demands for their products and many are working on expanding their facilities to accommodate this increasing demand.
Lesson for other African countries
Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens. The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.
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