Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Tomato Millionaires In The Making: How These 4 Smart Entrepreneurs Are Making Money from Africa’s Tomato Problems.
Tomato Millionaires In The Making: How These 4 Smart Entrepreneurs Are Making Money from Africa’s Tomato Problems. Tomatoes are Africa’s most consumed fruit (or vegetable); eaten by millions of people across our continent’s diverse religious, ethnic and social groups. Both in its raw and processed forms, tomatoes are central to most African diets and remain a regular ingredient in many soups, stews, sauces and dishes across the continent. Sadly, despite the ‘celebrity’ status of tomatoes in Africa, our continent does not provide enough tomatoes to meet its own needs. Almost every country in Africa consumes more tomatoes than it produces. The rest is imported from outside the continent, especially from China – which is now the world’s biggest exporter of tomato products. More than 50 percent of tomatoes harvested every year in Nigeria never make it to the market. Due to poor storage and a lack of processing options, a lot of tomatoes harvested in Nigeria is wasted. Another reason is, in most parts of Africa, tomatoes are mainly grown by small-scale rural farmers who have limited access to good seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. They also depend on natural rainfall to grow their tomatoes which makes the harvests unpredictable and inconsistent. Nigeria is not alone in this. This same ugly tomato situation is at play across the continent; from West and East Africa to Southern Africa.There are already a few smart entrepreneurs on the continent who have observed the huge and lucrative gaps in Africa’s tomato market and are already making some good progress.