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By agronigeria, January 10, 2018
tomatoes tpStakeholders in the tomato industry have lamented the one-month closure of the Tiga Dam in Kano State, noting that the move threatens the Federal Government’s Tomato Policy.
The closure of the dam, they said would hike the price of tomatoes and as such threaten Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in tomato production.
The Secretary, Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN), Alhaji Sanni Danladi-Yadakwari, regretted that the Hadejia-Jama’are River Basin Development Authority failed to give farmers prior notice before the closure of the dam for maintenance, a month ago.
He revealed that over 60 per cent of tomatoes planted by farmers in four local government areas of Kano State has been destroyed by the unplanned closure of the dam, thereby hindering farmers’ efforts to boost food production and the Federal Government’s drive to end tomato paste importation fruitless.
“They usually notify us before they shut the dam for routine maintenance so that we can plan our planting season or make alternative plans but this time around it was done arbitrarily without notification,’’ he said.
He noted that 5000 tomato farmers have been affected by the closure.
“The negligence of the authority has destroyed our source of livelihood and cost us millions of naira. The produce will not yield the desired results because tomatoes grow best in temperatures of 20 to 27°C and its fruit setting will be poor when the average temperature exceeds 30°C.,’’ he said.
The TOGAN top executive regretted that the reopening of the dam in early January could not save the farms from being destroyed.
He called for financial support to the farmers, adding that most of the affected farmers wanted to divert to rice and wheat production for the present planting season.
On his part, the Managing Director, Dangote Tomato Processing Plant, Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, lamented that the destruction of the farms would halt his organisation’s plan to begin production in its 20 million dollars tomato-processing plant situated in Kadawa, Kano.
He said that upon reopening, the plant would produce 400,000 tonnes of tomato paste yearly.
He accused the dam management of conniving with importers to sabotage the tomato policy and called on the government to probe the closure of the dam.
The Group Intervention Manager for Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4), Mr. Richard Ogundele, listed the likely effects of the dam’s closure to include reduced tomato output, increase in the price of the produce and farmers’ inability to repay their loans.
Ogundele called for a strong collaboration between the dam management and farmers toward ensuring a hitch-free production cycle to boost food production, jobs and wealth creation.
Available data from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, shows that Nigeria’s annual tomato production stands at about 1.8 million tonnes, out of which 900,000 tonnes are lost to bad roads and the dearth of storage facilities.
The shortfall in annual production is augmented by importation of about 150,000 tonnes of tomato concentrate worth 170 million dollars.
https://agronigeria.com.ng/tiga-dam-closure-threatens-tomato-policy-stakeholders/

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