FG Distributes Tomato Seeds To Oyo Farmers
The Federal Government through the Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) on Monday distributed improved tomato seeds to vegetable farmers in Oyo State.
The Director-General of RMRDC, Dr Hussaini Ibrahim, the major pillar of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was industrial development and manufacturing through the processing of local raw materials.
Mr Ibrahim, who stated this at the event in Ibadan, explained that tomato, being a strategic crop, was one of the selected commodities to drive this policy thrust.
According to him, the objective was to process tomato into paste and other value-added products.
Dr. Ibrahim, represented by the council’s Assistant Director (Investment), Mr John Obekpa, said tomato was targeted by the policy even as importation of non-triple concentrate tomato paste was discouraged.
He explained that the policy had stimulated the establishment of new tomato processing plants as well as the resuscitation of some hitherto comatose tomato concentrating plants.
The Director General said that in order for the plants to function at optimal capacity and competitively satisfy the demand for table use, three million metric tons of quality processing grade tomato fruits would be required.
Dr. Ibrahim said that it was imperative that access to improved seeds should be guaranteed, in addition to adopting global agronomic best practices in production and handling.
He further disclosed that in furtherance of its commitment to developing tomato value chain, vegetable farmers in Oyo and other states had been selected to benefit in 2018.
The RMRDC Coordinator in Oyo State, Mrs Olufolake Ishiola, expressed delight that the council’s activity was in consonance with the aspiration of developing the industrial sector through the provision of raw materials.
She said the council would monitor the project and ensure that farmers obtain good grade tomato seeds that would serve as raw materials for industries.