Nigeria is the largest producer of tomatoes in sub-Saharan Africa with an annual yield of 1.8 million metric tonnes, mostly produced in the north. Tomato farmers in Katsina State are angry at the lack of preservation technology for their produce. Their method of storing the perishable fruit out in the open exposes the produce to wind, flies and other natural threats.
Idris Garba, a tomato farmer in Kokami village in Katsina State, says there are advantages to sun drying his crop.
"We do this whenever we face a shortage of buyers. If you don't preserve [the tomatoes], they will get rotten easily but if we dry them here, they become dried tomatoes and can last for one to two years," Garba said.
Sun drying involves spreading tomatoes on bare ground for about eight days. There is no means of protecting the fruit from wind, rain or animals. As a result, many farmers incur huge losses.