The Dangote tomato paste plant in Kano has shut down due to a shortage of dollars needed to import raw materials. It is the second of such closure in recent months.
The dollar scarcity has also forced the Dangote conglomerate to cut down on other food businesses such as flour milling, sugar refining and vegetable oil refining.
As recent as November last year, Erisco Food closed a tomato paste plant in Lagos, eight months after its opening, due to the same shortage of hard currency to import raw materials. Some 1500 employees reportedly lost their jobs.
You may wonder why raw materials is a big problem with tomato paste plants considering the usual spectacle of tomatoes rotten away in farms and markets all over Nigeria. From what younews gathered, tomato grown in Nigeria is saturated by water content, thus it is not quite profitable for tomato paste manufactures.
As a way out younewsng.com feel strongly that concerted effort should be made to (1) encourage farmers to plant species of tomato favourable for the manufacture of tomato paste. And it is recommended that (2) manufacturers in general should be given priority in the allocation of forex and the usage monitored.