The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mobilised and validated 140,848 tomato farmers for the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at the Ground-Breaking ceremony of Tomato Jos at Kangimi community in Kaduna on Monday.
Tomato Jos is an American owned company aimed to transform smallholder farmers from subsistence growers into commercial producers.
The company has a 500 hectres of land with potential to cultivate tomato of 400 hectres and it is expected to begin production in 2021.
Emefiele said the beneficial farmers were selected from
various Tomato Farmers Associations across 25 States in the country.
He explained that the farmers would be linked to proximal processors where applicable, or financed to produce fresh fruits for direct consumption, which
constituted the largest use of tomato in the country.
“We are also partnering with other big players in the tomato value chain like Dangote Tomato Processing Ltd, Sonia Foods, GB Foods (GBF), Vegefresh Company Ltd. and a host of others.
“This is with a view to ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in tomato, and our Processing companies, functioning at full capacity and employıing millions of Nigerian youths.
“My presence here today is a demonstration of CBN’S preparedness to partner with the private sector to facilitate the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector through our various programmes and Schemes like Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP),.
“Others like Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) among others” he said.
Emefiele commended the Management of Tomato Jos company for flagging off this processing plant which had the potential of creating employment for hundreds of Kaduna State indigenes and other Nigerians in general.
He expressed hope that the Management of the company would remain focussed and not be compromised so as to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Chief Sola Aboderin, a member of the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIMA), has lauded the Federal Government’s policy exempting a category of entrepreneurs from paying Companies Income Tax.
Aboderin said in Ibadan on Monday that one of the good things the government had done was to exempt small businesses whose turnover was less than N25 million from paying tax.
He said that most of the upcoming companies in the country were within that range of turnover; hence it would encourage more people to be entrepreneurs.
Aboderin said it would also help upcoming businesses to be established and, therefore, boost the nation’s economy.
The entrepreneur, who is also the Managing Director of Abodreuben Nigeria Ltd., described the land border closure was a good policy that would help to develop local industries.
He mentioned the dangers of open border, saying it had affected the country in time past.
“A lot of products are being imported into the country illegally without paying customs duties that would enhance government revenue,” Aboderin said.
He said that government, however, needed to cash in on the gains of the closed land border by ensuring that the cost of production is lowered.
“The cost of production is affected by the huge cost of electricity as local companies spend huge amount of money on alternate power sources.
“Others factors to be addressed are the ease at which businesses can be established in Nigeria as well as multiple taxation,” Aboderin said.