About 3 years ago, we realized there is excess tomato harvest in Nigeria such that it always resulted to glut and there were no processing industries to utilize that opportunity. This happened every Januarys to Aprils every year such that the farmers sun-dry the excesses in a non-hygienic way.
In 2016, the situation became so worst that Aljazeera covered the report when the entire country was hit by tomatoes scarcity and tomato price rose from about 9cent/kg to $2/kg in the market as a result of glut and pest outbreak called Tuta Absoluta though farmers called it “tomato ebola”.
We formed a team came up with the idea of mobilizing youths and women by contributing to “Human Capital Development” as tool to achieve sustainable agricultural practices and prevention of postharvest losses by training and supporting these groups in our community in practical method of processing and packaging tomatoes into tomato powder and tomato puree with the help of the following objectives;
- Training youths and women in practical tomato processing and packaging: I’ve trained about 100 persons though I have a target of reaching 5000 trainees by February 2018
- I set up and registered a business (NaFarm Foods) that offers an inclusive business model to support my trainees with affordable packaging materials, equipment, licenses and necessary registrations to enable them to sell and advertise their products
- My business model also offers market outreach to the trainees
- I set up a mini tomato processing facility in Kaduna to serve as coordination center
- I registered a trademark for the products (NaFarm Royal Stew)
- My team, the trainees and I are working closely to achieve a 50 tons processing capacity/day
Compared to our competing products (tomato pastes) :
- High Cost of purchase during scarcity is eliminated
- Tomato Shelf-life is improved
- Consumers time is saved in cooking and
- The product can be stocked like other foodstuffs
Link to my presentation video:
Our website: http://nafarmfoods.com.ng