The manufacturers blamed the shortage of the triple concentrate used in the production of packed tomato paste, on the listing of the item among the 41 banned from accessing foreign exchange from the official window by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This CBN’s import restrictions policy, according to the manufacturers, has made it impossible for firms to import tomato concentrate which in turn is having an adverse effect on the production of the product.
According to a manufacturer in the Agro allied processing industry, Isaac Adewunmi, “Triple concentrate is produced for industrial use for further reprocessing and packing before consumption. Presently, not a single company in Nigeria produces triple concentrate which leaves a huge vacuum of 150, 000 metric tons (MT) in the market. Hence, this raw material is imported for reprocessing and packaging for subsequent consumption.”
Industry sources claimed that the tomato industry is one of the sub-sectors where Nigeria is highly advantaged. The country is ranked second largest producer of tomato in Africa and 13th largest in the world, producing 1.701 million tons of tomato annually at an average of 25-30 tons per hectare, all of which remains insufficient to sustain the Tomato paste industry in Nigeria.
By Pita Ochai