Nigeria Business & Finance Updates

Olam engages research institute for supply of tomato seeds

Nigeria’s agricultural value chain investor, Olam, says it is addressing poor tomato seedling by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Vegetable Centre, a globally renowned research institute and prominent seed producer and developer.

The firm said it had embarked on a pilot farming project through Caraway Africa.

 It said it acquired 20 hectares of land for its pilot tomato farming project and planned to establish farms in Karfi, Kano State, as well as Masama and Guri in Jigawa State.

 A statement from Olam quoted its Nigeria’s Vice President, Farming Initiatives, Reji George, as saying that while the tomatoes were transplanted in October 2019, harvest began in February.

 He said preliminary results point to a bountiful harvest.

 According to George, each of the farms will produce 30 metric tonnes of tomato per hectare, as against the 7.5MT per hectare that is Nigeria’s average tomato yield.

George added that the commercial pilot farming initiative that Olam Nigeria was embarking on was a precursor to a backward integration project for tomato paste production that would commence in March 2021.

He said, “We have also decided to go for additional eight varieties of hybrid tomato seeds already existing in Nigeria which have a higher yield potential.

 “We have selected tomato seed varieties which produce fresh tomatoes as well as the variants which are good for tomato processing.”

He said the tomatoes that were harvested at the Caraway Africa Nigeria, Kano and Jigawa farms, were considered to be of a high quality.

The tomatoes are products of the Nigerian hybrid seeds and the World Vegetable Centre seeds which were planted on a trial basis, George said.

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