Tomato Value Chain in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Strategies
The study was carried out to appraise tomato value chain in order to promote the development of tomato production and processing industry in Nigeria. Currently in Nigeria, about 1.8 Million tonnes of fresh tomato are produced per year, but over 50% of these are lost due to poor storage system, poor transportation and lack of processing enterprises. This makes it important to develop strategies for the development of tomato value chain. The method employed in this study includes semi-structured informal interviews with key value chain actors such as producers, intermediate traders, retailers and input suppliers and a critical review of available literature. The study revealed that there are good varieties of tomatoes in Nigeria, but only a few are suitable for industrial processing with regard to quantity and quality. The research also revealed that Nigeria is still not a major exporter of either fresh or processed tomato products despite the high production of fresh tomatoes. This was found to be due to inadequate supply of good quality seeds, inadequate storage facilities, poor disease and pest management, and poor processing facilities. The development of tomato for industrial use is currently gaining momentum, in the area of production of tomato juice, paste, ketchup, puree, and powder. Strategies identified to overcome the challenges include: policy shift to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as Industries along the value chain; improved input supplies; organisation of farmers into cooperatives so as to initiate innovative funding mechanism for them; establishment of clusters for processors; improvement in marketing strategies including guaranteed price for fresh tomato products; adjustment in tariff regime to favour local manufacturers including outright ban on importation of processed tomato products; increased investments in Research and Development (R&D) to produce improved seed varieties and develop technologies for storage and processing; adoption of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) by farmers and a strong National Commodity Association or Network.
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