A multi-billion tomato processing plant which is an initiative of Central Bank of Nigeria has been inaugurated in Kaduna state.
Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir Elrufai had on Monday, January 27 performed the groundbreaking of a multi-billion naira tomato processing plant in the state.
The tomato processing plant is expected to create over 7,500 jobs as it kick starts its operations.
The plant owned by Tomato Jos Farming and Processing Limited is set to utilize raw materials from a 400-hectare tomato farm established by the company and is to be commissioned in the year 2021.
Speaking at the event, Governor El-Rufai expressed delight at the initiative, saying that it had already created jobs for the people.
He said: “Kaduna state is well-endowed with farming potential, with vast arable land and many water sources. We are among the top producers of grains and vegetables, and we welcome the fact that processing facilities owned by private investors are being located across the state.“
“Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, Kaduna state is the number one producer of maize, tomatoes, soya beans, ginger and sorghum.“
“We are calling on big investors in agriculture as well as agro-processors to move to Kaduna and produce more of these agricultural products. We have 46,000, square kilometres of land, and most of it is arable and are available for our large scale farmers.“
“Our approach to business is to be an enabler and a facilitator of value-creation. The government employs only a tiny fraction of the working-age population. Therefore, it is imperative to encourage and support the private sector to create jobs, transfer skills and technology and contribute to public revenues. We have often said that our approach to business is “simple: we are very friendly, and we become friendlier with those who create jobs and pay taxes.”
El’rufai also said that the likes of Tomato Jos demonstrate why Kaduna state is ranked as the number one place for doing business by the World Bank’s doing business report for 2018.
He commended Miss Mira Mehta, the MD of the company for locating the company in Kaduna, stressing that the plant will make Kaduna people richer and more contributors to Nigeria’s economic growth.
The governor also thanked the U.S. ambassador and her predecessor for the support they had given to the project.
Speaking earlier, Mehta thanked the state government for the support and encouragement given to the company in 2017 when they first moved to Kaduna.
She also thanked the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele for his support and commended the community for hosting her.
“The Tomato Jos Vision is very simple: Local production for local consumption and our goal is very clear: we want to create a middle class in rural Nigeria through the industrialization of agriculture. “This groundbreaking ceremony is just the beginning and I am very proud to be part of a Nigerian success story,” she said.
The company had so far employed 2,500 and is to engage over 5000 more Nigerians at the completion of the processing plant.
The company has also earmarked N7bn for investment within the next five years to fully scale up its operation in Nigeria.
The company is also supporting farmers cultivating 3,000 hectares of land, sourcing 150,000 tons of tomatoes with a target of producing of to 10% of local consumption in Nigeria.