Some stakeholders along tomato value chain have commended Federal Government’s support to the tomato value chain in the North and requested for similar support in the South-West Nigeria. The stakeholders made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of a tomato value chain workshop held at the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan on Wednesday.
The workshop was one of the Africa Union sponsored projects for tomato in Nigeria in collaboration with the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana as the overseeing institution. In the communiqué signed by the project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Dorcas Ibitoye, the stakeholders also rued the high cost and unavailability of improved tomato seeds and agricultural inputs such as agrochemicals in Nigeria.
The communiqué decried poor funding of research institutes, the challenge of inadequate extension workers and scientists that would train farmers on tomato production and choice of variety for specific location and purpose, poor state of rural roads which had made it difficult to transport agricultural produce to market in urban centres, huge losses incurred on farms as a result of cattle invasion of farmlands and high rate of rural-urban migration by youths and young adults thereby leaving the business of farming to mostly aged people.
It implored the Federal Government to assist farmers in making simple farm machinery available at affordable rates, assist NIHORT to out-scale improved technologies, to mandate seed producing companies to produce seeds in the country so as to reduce high cost of seeds due to importation, to make funds available to farmers at due season for their farming activities that were time-bound, to invest in irrigation facilities to boost tomato production, especially in the south western part of the country and to encourage youths to go into mechanised tomato farming and grant NIHORT, tomato seed industries access to seeds and tomato paste importation levy for development of national tomato value chain.