Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria, has many unexploited natural resources for lack of infrastructure. As a result, there is a strong dependence on the import of some basic products such as tomato paste.
However, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote recently decided to attack the problem of youth unemployment in the North of the country. A region which is well stricken by unemployment and poverty, a deficiency being exploited by the Islamist group, Boko Haram.
It has been five years since the Dangote group built the 20 million dollars (18,4 million euros) tomato conversion facility in the outskirts of Kano,north of Nigeria.
The local companies that packages tomato paste have already placed orders with us, and we are going to have to work hard to honor these orders.
The huge installation is an equivalent of 10 soccer fields.
According to Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture data, the current demand of tomato paste in Nigeria is 900, 000 tons a year.
The Dangote factory, scheduled to commence production next month, plans to produce 430, 000 tons a year for numerous Nigerian traditional dishes.
The factory’s Managing Director,Abdulkarim Kaita said the country has an enormous market for tomato paste.
NDTV (@ndtv) January 17, 2016
Nigeria produces approximately 1.5 million tons of tomatoes a year, which makes it the 14th biggest producer in the world and the second in Africa.
However, the country imports its tomato paste mainly from China due to lack of conversion facilities.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said half of the country’s production of tomatoes rots because of lack of storage facility and access to points of sale.
Dangote tomato factory, built by the Swiss company Syngenta, is expected to employ 120 people, and has made a commitment to buy tomatoes from 50, 000 farmers.
Kaita said they intend to increase production capacity and to acquire another factory with concentration on tomatoes.