Over the years, Nigeria has relied excessively on the importation of commodities which the country –according to economic experts –can produce on a sufficiently large scale through the promotion of agriculture. While economic indications have proven beyond reason that excess reliance on importation has a negative impact on locally produced commodities, there is a vivid cause for Nigeria to cut back on the importation of certain commodities.
With Nigeria’s yearly tomato importation estimated around 400,000 tonnes, Aliko Dangote was prompted to launch a tomato factory in March 2016 as an attempt to discourage Nigeria’s excess dependence on tomato importation.
Therefore, this article exposes you to what Dangote’s tomato plant is all about including information about the challenges it has encountered since commencing operation in 2016.
About Dangote Tomato Plant
Dangote Farms is a tomato processing plant under the ownership of Aliko Dangote, business tycoon and Africa’s wealthiest man. Considered the biggest tomato plant in Nigeria, Dangote Farms was established in March, 2016 and is situated in Kadawa, Kano state, Nigeria. While the plant is capable of daily processing of 1,200 tonnes of tomatoes, it also requires an estimate of 40 trucks of raw tomatoes daily. Meanwhile, each truck delivering raw tomatoes to the plant is expected to hold 30 tonnes of produce.
The establishment of Dangote’s tomato plant was borne out of efforts to reduce the importation of commodities into Nigeria. Notably in Africa, Nigeria is the third largest importer of tomato pastes from Asia. Therefore, the launching, as well as operation, of Dangote’s tomato plant is expected to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production.
As a way of achieving its aim through improvement in local processing, Dangote Farms has urged the Nigerian government to impose restrictions on the importation of tomato pastes into Nigeria.
Despite being owned by Africa’s richest man, the tomato factory has encountered a series of shutdowns resulting from several factors including deficiency of supplies and price disagreements with farmers.
Dangote Farms, in September 2019, declared that farmers were diverting to other crops in the rainy season and while this resulted in idleness on the part of workers, the company experienced a monthly loss of #30 million. A report from Bloomberg noted that since the beginning of the rainy season in May, 2019, farmers responsible for supplying the company with raw materials proceeded to the cultivation of various other crops, leaving the tomato plant with inadequate supplies.
Suspension of Operation
Dangote Farms has had a series of shutdowns with the most recent shutdown being that of April 2019. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the suspension, which lasted for months, was as a result of deficient supply of raw materials.
Resumption of Operation
The Managing Director of Dangote Farms, Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, in an interactive session with newsmen, declared that all efforts over resuming operation had been concluded. According to the Managing Director, Dangote Farms, in preparation for resumption, had employed no less than 100 “skilled and casual workers”.
Noting that the tomato plant would officially resume production on 7th of February, 2020, Alhaji Kaita added that the plant would operate 24 hours on a daily basis. As part of efforts to fast-track the production resumption, Alhaji Kaita further added that Dangote Farms had begun contacting farmers –registered with the Anchor Borrower Programme of CBN –for the purchase of products.
We hope the information up there has satisfied your desire to know about Dangote’s tomato plant. At the same time, you must have seen enough reason why an establishment such as this vast tomato plant is one of the necessary facilities for clamping down on Nigeria’s excess importation.