The Nigerian export promotion council (NEPC), a federal government agency for the promotion of non-oil export has concluded arrangements to help tomato farmers in Plateau state to boost production and export of the product.
Tomato is one of the commodities targeted by NEPC’s zero oil plan Zonal coordinator of NEPC, North Central, Mr. Nanakaan Saave disclosed this during a one day workshop organized by the zonal office of NEPC for tomato farmers and other stakeholders in the state.
Mr. Saave in his welcome address to participants in the workshop said, “The export of agricultural products like tomatoes is one of the items that can be used to diversify the economy of the country from its over dependence on oil export.
He said, “We have discovered in the zonal office that there is high concentration of small scale farmers in Plateau state that produces between 25,000 to 30,000 metric tones of tomatoes annually.
“The study also revealed that tomato farmers on the Plateau suffers a lot of deficiencies in the areas of production, storage, handling and packaging, which makes the output unfit for the export market. Further more, the varieties cultivated are not the high yielding and disease resistant ones.
“For the commodity to make a contribution to national foreign exchange earnings, there is therefore need to further enhance the capacity of farmer to produce high quality tomatoes that will attract premium price in the international market with a view to boosting its export in line with the focus of zero-oil plan”
According to Mr. Saave, “It is in this wise that the zonal office sought and got the intervention of the headquarters to organise this capacity building workshop for both farmers and other stakeholders with a view to assisting to boost the production and export of the commodity from the state”
Plateau state commissioner for Commerce, Mr. Ezekiel Daju, while declaring the workshop open said, “The capacity building will go along way in boosting the efforts of the state government in empowering small scale farmers in the state.
In her goodwill message, Plateau State commissioner for agriculture, Mrs. Lynda Barawu, who was represented by Mrs. Halima Pamwa, called on participants to learn, absolve, then go home and practice what they would have learnt from the workshop.
Source: <The Nation>