Tomato Demonstration Farm in Akwa Ibom

Regular readers of Jabborro.com posts would have met my report on how Akwa Ibom was working towards meeting the Federal Government of Nigeria’s tomato paste production objective. It was carried on a few print media and websites as well. Please find it here.

Not long after that report, price of fresh Tomato skyrocketed by about 400%. Tuta Absoluta, a crop pest that originated from South America, became resistant to pesticide and this was blamed immediately, although a combination of it and other factors actually caused the inflation.
Now, the inflation caused many damages across the nation. Yet, I know of 2 experiment farms that neither suffer the plague nor fail to make profit. They thrive in the epidemic, thanks to collaboration with AKEES – Akwa ibom Enterprise & Employment Scheme.
Here is a mild analysis of their enviable turnover even as a trial farm.

Other Reasons for Scarcity and Inflation of Tomatoes, than Tuta Absoluta
- Some farmers up north have abandoned planting tomatoes as they cannot afford the high cost of petrol to power water pumping machines for irrigation.
- Most of the villages where these tomatoes are planted are experiencing heavy rainfall. They have to stop planting as the specie they plant doesn’t thrive in rain.
- “Most of the women who bought tomatoes in large quantities have dried them and are now selling them to us dried” - Northern traders.
- In March this year, the Dangote tomato paste factory in Kano, northern Nigeria, began operations to a maximum capacity of about 430,000 tons of tomato paste.
- Major tomato sellers in northern Nigeria have taken to selling their product to the factory instead of sending them down to the south
- These tomato farmers have seen that selling their produce to the Dangote factory will help them avoid certain costs, including the cost of transportation form the north to south
Tuta Absoluta struck the fresh tomato market merely 1 week to harvest at the Uyo demonstration farm. The means the Uyo farm, which started selling just following the rise in prices, have sold tomato worth #4.6million; more than double the projection.
At the demo farms, AKEES has worked out trainings in imported technology, tried out disease resistant species, tested effectiveness of fungicides, planted and harvested tens of tones, provided jobs to indigenes, and essentially demonstrated the workability of several fast selling cash crops and veggies.
Mr. Langwa Brezhnev, an expatriate working with AKEES on these farms - specifically providing the technology, techniques, and training - has this to say:
“This project was not sent to only AKEES, but those who did not believe in the project shelved it. A lot of people saw the project as a scam and nothing to write about. But it can now be realized that these things can work here through this experiment promoted by AKEES.

If you plant tomato well in 2 hectares of land, you will harvest between 20 and 30 tonnes, which is 30,000kg. If a kilogram remains sold for N500, you should be expecting N15 million in 8 weeks”.


Uduak Umo is a Chartered PR Consultant and Public Interest Researcher