To stabilise the tomato value chain, the government needs to review its policy on triple concentrate tomato paste importation in a bid to boost the implementation of the backward integration agenda, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sonia Foods Industries Limited, Nnamdi Nnodebe, has said.
Speaking at a forum to reward its Southwest region distributors in Lagos at the weekend, Nnodebe said the recent increase of import tariff on triple concentrate tomato paste will not motivate packaging companies that are planning or already involved in backward integration exercise.
According to him, the increment, coupled with the imposition of additional levy of $1500 per metric tonne will collapse the tomato packing industry.
His words: “I believe the major problem we are having today, based on triple concentrate, is hinged on output of the farmers. Government needs to support, nurture and train farmers on how to apply chemicals on farm to enable their yield per hectare to increase from six tonnes they are getting today to 40 tonnes that is obtainable outside. That is the only way they can be able to sell cheaper to processors. Why processors today are not getting raw materials is because of high cost of fresh tomatoes. But every day you keep on hearing that tomatoes perishes more, which is not true.
“Government needs to call all of us in the value chain, including packers, processors and farmers for a meeting; hear from us and know
those that are genuine in the industry and support them.”
Speaking on the motivation to rewards its distributors, Nnodebe said, the reward programme has been designed by the company to appreciate its local customers here in Southwest because the company is also going to do the same to other regions, adding that the distributors have been with the company for a very long time, hence the need to show appreciation.