Nigerian farmers under the aegis of Tomatoes and Orchard Producers Association of Nigeria (TOPAN), have called on governments at federal, state and local government levels to pay more attention to tomato sector in the country.
Bola Oyeleke, National President of the association who made the call in a media chat stated that the government has done enough in agriculture but when it comes to tomato, it needs to pay more attention.
He said that tomato is one of the lucrative businesses in the world especially in Nigeria where 98 percent of Nigerians consume tomato.
“That is why the government need to shift its attention to tomato and not just rice alone.
“If you look at this year, there is a quick rain and during the beginning of the year the heat was very high and immediately the rain start falling the tomato production for the raining season started and you will find out that the amount of rain that fell that time damaged the plant.
“You also find out that during raining season there are lots of diseases that come up that is why government intervention is very necessary,” he said.
Oyeleke further noted that planting tomato during the rain season is highly expensive.
“You have to deal with the disease, you have to deal with so many issues so you find out that some of the farmers that produce tomato do not have huge capital to produce huge production during this time.
“That is why these diseases creep into the small farms damaging the soil and also damaging the plants roaming around the tomato.
“We are calling on the government to refocus and ensure that the tomato sector in Nigeria is given attention and also see how they can support the farmers to increase their productivity”.
Oyeleke noted that the problem small scale farmers have is that they do not have enough income to do land preparation.
He said what causes most of these diseases is that most farmers land preparation is very poor.
“Our land preparation is very poor in Nigeria, our small scale farmers are not using mechanisation for land preparation and the short time they use to prepare land is short to kill some of these diseases”.