The over dependence on importation of tomatoes costs Nigeria N11 billion.
Nigeria spends over N11 billion on the importation of 65,809 tonnes of processed tomatoes annually, the Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC, Peter Onwualu, said.
Mr. Onwualu said this in Gusau, Zamfara State, at the opening a one-day capacity building workshop on tomato juice processing and marketing in Zamfara.
He said that the trend would continue until adequate domestic food processing and storage facilities are put in place.
The director-general said that tomato could be processed into sauce, ketchup, paste, jam, among others, likewise onion and pepper, which could also be canned or dried, respectively.
He said that utilising local resources through the use of locally developed technologies at lower cost would enhance production and value-addition to the primary and secondary raw materials to meet the needs of the nation’s industries.
Mr. Onwualu said that the council has adopted a strategy to encourage value-addition to local resources, such as fruits and vegetables.
In his speech, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industries, Hassan Zurmi, commended the council for organising the workshop.
He said that the workshop would sensitise farmers on how to preserve local products to avoid wastages and improve production.
The commissioner said that the state government was prepared to partner with individuals and organisations to develop the agricultural sector.