GBFoods, a global food products manufacturer, has completed its tomato factory in Kebbi State. The facility, which is the second largest of its kind in Nigeria, will now be opening shortly to serve an ever-growing market for tomato paste in the country.
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Officials at the company put the total amount invested in the project after its commencement at ₦20 billion. The firm has also received the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Kebbi State Government, and the emirate of Yauri, where the factory is sited.
According to the plan for the plant, it should eventually become the largest tomato processing facility in Sub-Saharan Africa.
CEO of GBFoods Africa, Mr. Vicenç Bosch, spoke positively about the support that his company had received from the government throughout its execution. He thanked the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, for the role they played in the successful establishment of the factory.
Investment in the project also includes 1,000 hectares of farmland sited in the vicinity of the factory—the largest single tomato farm in the country. Greenhouses, seedbeds, incubation chambers, and seed planting robots are a part of the plan. Other equipment will be brought in as well.
The tomatoes harvested from the farm will be converted into tomato concentrate at the processing plant and packaged for sale under some of GBFoods’ famous brand names. During the wet season– outside of the planting season for tomatoes, the farm will grow soybeans. The soybeans will also be used to produce soybeans oil.
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This project is the only fully-backward integrated tomato plant in West Africa, according to its initiators.
The company says that it has already created over 1,000 jobs, including for hundreds of farmers, factory workers, and construction jobs. Through its out-grower program, it has supplied numerous small-holder farmers with the seedlings and equipment they need to grow quality tomatoes.
GBFoods will be producing two of its flagship products in its facility in Kebbi: Gino Tomato Paste, and Gino Tomato Pepper Onion Paste. The soya bean oil it makes will also constitute an ingredient for its Bama and Jago Mayonnaise.
Nigeria is one of Africa’s biggest tomato producing countries. Yet, it has a 700,000 metric ton supply gap in its market for the produce. This gap has widened because tomato production in the country is falling behind population growth.
There has been renewed effort in recent years to improve the cultivation, processing, and sale of the vegetable. The government will be hoping for more companies to help cut the supply gap for tomato products in Nigeria.
Featured image source: Ventures Africa
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