Value-chain operators in the tomato paste industry have warned of the potential collapse of Nigeria’s N19 billion tomato paste manufacturing industry in the second quarter of 2017 if President Muhammadu Buhari continues to back the harsh forex policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The operators claimed that the CBN reluctance to amend its forex policy has boosted the importation of tomato paste into the country at the peril of local manufacturers.
Naija247news recalls that Erisco Foods Limited, a former local tomato paste manufacturer in Nigeria, had shut down operations in the country, citing similar conditions.
Nigeria’s Union of Tomato Paste Manufacturers further lamented that the ban on triple concentrate tomato paste used as raw material by local manufacturers has left the local industry in a dilapidating condition.
According the union’s spokesperson, Nnamdi Nnodebe, “It makes better economics to import the raw materials that will enable production, grow the economy and keep jobs rather than importing the finished products or frustrating efforts to get the raw materials, thereby rendering millions jobless which might further kill the economy.
“The local packing industry can also form the hub for exports to the hinterland countries as there are adequate local capacities to more than cater to the domestic requirement. Using the ECOWAS benefits, this can be a huge foreign exchange earner for the country today and in the near future. Through the growth of the tomato industry Nigeria can compete with China instead of buying the finished goods from them.
“It is important for the government to recognise that the packing industry is an essential component of the tomato paste value chain and without this sector there can be no link between the farmer and the final consumer. Even if we develop our own triple concentrate manufacturing industry in future, the bulk of triple concentrate cannot be consumed in Nigeria alone as exportation of the local production will become more lucrative,” Nnodebe said.