Several tomato farmers in Benue have called on their state government to buy up surplus tomatoes across the state to curb wastage. The farmers said the government could do this by establishing tomato processing industries in areas where the product is being cultivated in large quantities. According to them, this will go a long way to curb wastage and improve the incomes of average tomato farmers in the state.
Mrs. Tabitha Ahungwa, a tomato farmer lamented that a lot of the commodity was being wasted because of lack of buyers, saying that preserving it locally could be very difficult during the rainy season.
“Even the buyers are not helping us the farmers. They are not encouraging us because they buy the product at a meagre amount. “This is worse during the rainy season. During the rainy season most people venture into the cultivation of the product on a large scale,” she said.
Mr Tor Numve, also a tomato farmer corroborated Ahungwa’s view, saying that tomatoes were usually cultivated in large quantities during the rainy season. “This is because tending it during the season is less tedious compared to the dry season. “As a result of the large cultivation of tomatoes during the rainy season and without storage facilities, there is usually a lot of waste of the commodity.”