The South-West President of Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria, Mr Bamidele Ajani, said the group had targeted to produce 1200m/tons monthly to reduce the scarcity of the commodity in the country.
Ajani disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ibadan.
He said the farmers had planned to be planting and producing tomatoes all year round through irrigation system in order to be the highest tomato producers in Nigeria.
Ajani added that the association trained the farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) on the planting of hybrid F1 tomatoes.
“We are also training our farmers under cooperative clusters, we are collaborating with Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP/GIS) because the hybrid tomatoes seedling F1 needs proper practice to get a high yield.
“We have acquired 250 hectares of land around Ikere Gorge Dam at Atiba LGA, Oyo State, this will avail us the opportunity of all year planting using an irrigation system.
“We have applied to BOI for agricultural implements, we have been on it for three years now but hope to get it after COVID-19 pandemic issues, all preparation is geared towards GAP and global competitiveness,” he said.
The president urged the government to urgently start disbursement of funds to approved farmers as the planting season was fast coming to an end.
He also appealed to the government to provide farm implements, especially tractors, at affordable or subsidised rates so as to boost agricultural production and improve food security.
“Government and its agencies on agriculture need to be proactive, transparent and diligent in the discharge of their duties.
“Virement of funds from agriculture headings to another government spending should be avoided, there is a need to identify real/grassroots farmers from vendor farmers.
“Farmers’ provisions must not stop at Vendor farmers but real or grassroots farmers.
“For food security to be attained, the government needs to subsidise agriculture and all stakeholders should discharge their duties transparently,” he said.
Ajani further advised farmers to specialise on a particular crop of production while acquiring knowledge on GAP in their area of specialisation.
He urged them to increase their reading culture as the world moves to advanced technology in virtually all aspects of life, including agriculture.