Adebusuyi, who is also a tomato farmer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos that such investment would also enhance the tomato value chain.
According to him, many tomato farmers incurred losses every year due to wastages that could have been prevented through processing them into tomato puree.
He said that the nation was blessed with abundant capacity to produce tomatoes, but that the demand for it could not be met as a result of wastages.
“Nigeria is the second largest producer of tomatoes in Africa, after Egypt.
“We produce about 1.4 million metric tonnes of tomatoes annually, yet we spend almost N11 billion to import tomatoes and tomato puree every year.
“Our farmers lack basic storage facilities that can help preserve their farm produce through various stages of distribution, to the end consumers.
“Instead of adequately tapping our potential as a tomato producing country, we are busy enriching other nations by importing tomatoes from them,’’ he said.
Adebusuyi noted that an increase in the processing of tomatoes into pastes and purees would reduce wastages, create value addition and job opportunities.
“Nigerians, regardless of the tribe, like to consume fresh tomatoes in their delicacies, yet they also appreciate tomato pastes in cans and sachets.
“This is a huge investment and job creation opportunity, if we consider our population.
“It will also help expand the customer base of farmers and enhance their income,’’ he said.
Adebusuyi called on Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s incoming government to ensure proper channelling and distribution of SME funds that would drive investments in the processing of farm produce, especially tomato. (NAN)