The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the Federal Government will provide solar-powered cold rooms in Kano State for the preservation of tomatoes.
The Minister disclosed this at the First National Tomato Stakeholders Summit in Kano on Thursday. The cold rooms, he added, would be installed at 15 locations in the state.
“In addition to that, the government will also provide cold trucks to transport tomatoes from one location to the other,” Ogbeh said.
Designated the second most important vegetable, tomatoes has many health benefits as it serves as an antioxidant, a source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and Vitamin K. It has also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. It is a common family staple food in Nigeria.
According to FAO, total world production of tomatoes was pegged at 152.9 million ton with the market value of $74.1 billion USD in 2009 and with annual land cultivation of 1,255,100 hectares, China is the world leading producer of tomatoes while the Nigeria output is the highest in the Sub Sahara Africa.
It will be recalled in 2012 under then President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria initiated a strategy to achieve 6 million metric tonnes tomatoes production ending 2018. While the country is far from achieving this, FG efforts like the provision of storage cold room will go a long way to reduce post-harvest wastage of the fruit.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje restated his administration’s commitment to reviving agricultural production in Kano State.