A professor of Horticulture and Landscape management at the Federal University of Agriculture, (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Prof. Goke Bodunde has called on the federal government to ban some products among which is tomato paste.
Professor Bodunde said this while delivering an inaugural lecture titled, “Unveiling the beauty of an unforbidden fruit”.
Explaining his reason for the ban, he said some imported pastes contain about 50 per cent starch before dilution in Nigeria where an additional 15 per cent starch is often added.
Speaking further, he said while tomato is vital to nutrition, Nigeria has the poorest production in the world, especially with its five tonnes per hectare (ha), compared to Egypt and South Africa.
The professor noted some abuses have been observed due to low the low production of dietary compulsion of tomato in culinary use.
“This is the story of some of the tomato paste and purees imported into Nigeria, 91.1 per cent of which, according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) (2015), failed to meet the required standard,” he said.
According to him, “it is noteworthy that most of the pastes are imported as concentrates in drums and big cans from Italy, India and China. They are usually diluted, packaged and finally canned by various canning industries in Nigeria”.
Suggesting a way forward, Bodunde said investment should be made in the tomato canning industry by the private sector and the government.