The Kanya Hote Tomato Growers Association in Daura, Katsina State, has urged the state government to provide a stable market for tomatoes.
Malam Bako Langa, the Chairman of the association made the call when the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited his farm on Tuesday.
According to him, the absence of a regular and stable market for the product is affecting the fortunes of members of the association who have cultivated the commodity in abundance.
Langa said members of the association alone have cultivated about 1,000 hectares of tomatoes in the current dry season farming.
He noted with the price of tomatoes at between N400 and N500, “it is doubtful if we could recoup what we invested in the production and processing of the commodity.”
According to him, although a tomato processing industry in Katsina is buying the commodity at between N700 and N800 per basket, a farmer requires at least N500 per basket to cover the cost of harvesting, packaging and transport.
He, therefore, urged the state government to situate a market in the area where factory owners can buy off the commodity from farmers.
A farmer, Alhaji Sani Zimbo, said tomato growers would continue to record consequential losses if the situation was not addressed.
“I cultivated four hectares of two tomato variety called Chipli and UTC and harvest 300 baskets weekly, but then our problem is that of getting market value for our efforts.”
He advised the state government to come up with an emergency intervention method to assist the farmers and encourage further production of tomato.
Malam Salisu Salisu, the Irrigation Officer, Daura Local Government noted that the drastic fall in the price of tomato should elicit concern by the government.
Salisu described the situation as “distressful” with farmers at the receiving end.
When contacted, Dr Abba Abdullahi, Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari on Agriculture, advised the farmers to liaise with his office with a view to addressing the problem.
He said the state government was doing its best to attract investors to set up tomato processing plants across the state.
Abdullahi said already, a Spanish firm was in the process of establishing a tomato processing industry in Funtua, to provide a stable market for the product in the area.
“We have invited investors from Spain and aerial survey of where the factory would be located had been completed,” he said.