By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
Some stakeholders along tomato value chain have commended Federal Government’s support to the tomato value chain in the North and requested for similar support in the South-West.
The stakeholders made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of a tomato value chain workshop held at the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan on Wednesday.
NAN reports that the workshop was one of the Africa Union sponsored projects for tomato in Nigeria in collaboration with the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana as the overseeing institution.
In the communiqué signed by the project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Dorcas Ibitoye, the stakeholders also rued the high cost and unavailability of improved tomato seeds and agricultural inputs such as agrochemicals in Nigeria.
“The government alone cannot fund tomato value chain industry, hence the need for Public Private Partnership,” it said.
The communiqué decried poor funding of research institutes, the challenge of inadequate extension workers and scientists that would train farmers on tomato production and choice of variety for specific location and purpose.
It implored the Federal Government to assist farmers in making simple farm machinery available at affordable rates.
The communiqué also resolved that the government should assist NIHORT to out-scale improved technologies they already have on the shelf.
It urged the Federal Government to mandate seed producing companies to produce seeds in the country so as to reduce high cost of seeds due to importation.
It enjoined government at all levels to make funds available to farmers at due season for their farming activities that were time-bound.
It called on the government to invest on irrigation facilities to boost tomato production, especially in the south western part of the country.
It decried the poor state of rural roads which had made it difficult to transport agricultural produce to market in urban centres, while urging the government to rehabilitate rural roads.
The communiqué lamented the huge losses incurred on farms as a result of cattle invasion of farmlands, while calling on the government to find a lasting solution to herders/farmers clashes.
It also expressed dismay about the high rate of rural-urban migration by youths and young adults thereby leaving the business of farming to mostly aged people.
It, therefore, urged the government to encourage youths to go into mechanised tomato farming and grant NIHORT, tomato seed industries access to seeds and tomato paste importation levy for development of national tomato value chain. (NAN)