FG’s import restriction will aid operations Dangote Firm says


Dangote Tomato firm is optimistic that the federal government’s restriction of food imports to sustain operations after being idle for six months.

Bloombeg reports that the six months ‘idleness’ was after it (firm) initially resumed operations from an almost three-year shut down due to lack of raw materials.

Nigerian businessman, Aliko Dangote, launched the $20 million tomato processing facility in early 2016 with the aim of eliminating import of tomato paste mostly from China but the firm has suffered setbacks

Since the beginning of the rainy season in May, farmers are said to have switched to other crops making it difficult for the facility, which has the capacity to process 1,200-ton-a-day tomato paste, to reach its required feedstock.

Despite the challenges, Dangote Farms is pushing ahead with its original objective of replacing tomato-paste imports.

Earlier this year, the former minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, had announced that the federal government will place a ban on the importation of tomato paste before the end of 2019.

Subsequently, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to remove foreign exchange support on some imported foods.

The bank is also implementing a new credit plan intended to help the farmers grow tomatoes all year round.