Tomato farmers in Kano state have expressed fear that the production of the commodity, this year, might face serious challenges following the suspension of the distribution of hybrid tomato seedlings by Dangote farms.
Alhaji Sani Danladi-Yadakwari, the state branch Chairman of National Tomato Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Monday.
He said that only about 500 out of the 10, 000 registered tomato farmers under the
Central Bank Anchor Borrower programme, were able to collect the seedlings before the distribution was suddenly suspended.
According to him, if care is not taken, the essence of distributing the hybrid seedling; to boost production of the commodity and meet the demand of tomatoes processing plants in the state would be a mirage.
Dangote Farms had on Monday, Oct. 38, inaugurated the distribution of hybrid tomato seedlings to tomato farmers under the Central Bank Anchor Borrower Programme before it was suspended.
Danladi-Yadakwari, who is also the Secretary-General of the association, said the delay in the distribution of the tomato seedlings would negatively affect farmers clearing their farmlands in preparation for the planting season.
“What we learnt is that the material with which the tomato seed is mixed with to produce the seedlings was exhausted and had to be ordered from outside the country.
“So we hope the problem will be solved in time to enable farmers to plant the seedlings in time so as to beat the time for the planting, otherwise it will be late, “ he said.
He also called on Dangote Tomato Processing Company and the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately address the challenges to save the farmers from any stress.
However, when contacted, the Managing Director of Dangote Farms, Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita confirmed suspension of the distribution of seedlings.
He, however, assured that the distribution of the seedlings would soon resume, adding that Central Bank of Nigeria had taken delivery of the materials (components) used in mixing the tomato seed before producing its seedlings.
“The materials had to be ordered from outside the country but I am happy to tell you that the CBN has taken the delivery of the materials and the distribution will soon resume,
“The period of the distribution has also been extended to end of January 2020 instead of Dec. 2019,” Kaita.,
NAN reports that farmers who use the hybrid tomato seedling varieties are expected to produce between 40, 60, and 80 and up to 100 tonnes per hectare, using the best practices.