The Country Coordinator, National Fadama Project, Taiwo Adewumi , has pledged to support women and youth groups engaged in tomato production in Kaduna State.
Adewumi made the pledge on Sunday while inspecting some tomato farms whose owners were benefiting from the FADAMA project in the state.
He urged community leaders to encourage youths and women groups to engage in agri-businesses in order to eradicate poverty.
The coordinator expressed satisfaction with the level of participation of youths and women in Ikara and Soba Local Government Areas in tomato production and pledged more support to them.
“ Women and youths involvement in tomato production is quite impressive and we appreciate that.
“We appeal to Imams and traditional leaders to always encourage both the youths and women to get involved in farming because it is the solution to poverty.
“We are going to support you with the market because we are not going to allow our farmers to lose their tomatoes.
“For Maizere Danwata village in Soba; we will find a way to create access roads so as to make it easier for you to transport your farm produce to the market.
“The good thing is that the two local government areas we visited have imbibed the culture of using improved seedlings based on their experience in 2016 training they received as well as the technical assistance,“ Adewumi said.
He urged the tomaoto farmers to aim higher in terms of production hectares at the end of every year.
“The target for the year was about 800 hectares and we have given a mandate that by next year we want to get to 2,000 hectares of land to be cultivated in the state and the state coordinator has assured us it is possible.
“I know with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, it will be achieved.
“The fruit seeds they planted is resistant to “tuta absoluta” pest and I know that scientists have conducted lots of research and said tomatoes planted in dry season are tuta absoluta free, ‘’ he said.
He assured that tuta absoluta would be free not only in Kaduna but Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbe, has expressed happiness with the discovery that local farmers were happy with the new improved seeds.
Represented by Heather Akanni, a senior official in the ministry, Ogbe said he was impressed with the way the farmers used the improved seeds that were resistant to pests and diseases, including tuta absoluta.
“We know what we went through last year when the disease broke out,’’ Ogbe said.
Mr Daudu Isiyaku, State Fadama Coordinator, said Kaduna had emerged as one of the largest producers of tomatoes in the country.
Isiyaku urged the coordinator to give more support to the various cooperatives groups to increase production of the commodity because of its high demand. (NAN)