Processing tomatoes at the factory.

By Agbonkhese Oboh

Gbfoods, in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kebbi State government and the Emirate of Yauri, has built a N20 billion tomato-processing factory in the state.

The factory, which is the second largest in Nigeria and the only fully backward-integrated plant in ECOWAS with the biggest single tomatoes farm in Nigeria, will be the largest fresh tomatoes processing factory in Sub-Saharan Africa, when all phases are completed.

Speaking during the opening of the factory, Mr. Vincent Egbe, Country Manager, GBfoods Nigeria, said: “The commissioning of this processing factory further demonstrates the company’s commitment towards helping Nigeria achieve its food security ambitions and, in this case, self-sufficiency in tomato concentrate production.

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“We will continue to work with the Federal Government towards food security and local production and processing of fresh tomatoes. The company is dedicated to reducing pre and post-harvest losses, and also developing the value chain to improve revenue streams for tomato farmers.

“Over the past three years in Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi, GBfoods has worked with smallholder out-growers to boost their incomes by providing seedlings, fertilisers, training, and irrigation pumps, and to reduce post-harvest losses GBfoods also provided free plastic crates to farmers.”

On his part, the CEO of GBfoods Africa, Mr. Vicenç Bosch, commended the Federal Government for encouraging and supporting GBfoods to engage with CBN, ministries, departments and agencies to ensure the successful completion of the factory.

He also expressed his gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investments, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Kebbi State Government and the Ngaski Local Government authorities for their support towards the actualisation of the project.

Mr. Bosch added that “our team of extension workers, consultants and agronomists are ensuring that the Nigerian farmers benefit from the technology transfer of our best practices and know-how built through over 40 years of successful tomato operations in Italy and Spain.

A statement said Gbfoods, which has a wide range of products under the Gino brand, would, with the tomatoes project, create over 1,000 jobs including 500 farming jobs, 150 factory jobs and 150 construction jobs.

The investment, a world-class factory and adjoining farms include a drip irrigation and fertigation infrastructure, greenhouses, seed planting robots, an incubation chambers and a plethora of agricultural machinery.

Vanguard

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