The 500-hectare Kuda Gangara Integrated Tomato Farm, a multi-million project by Caraway (amember of Olam Group) in Jigawa State, has recorded its first commercial harvest of 40 metric tonnes per hectare, exceeding earlier projections.
According to the company, the yield is also more than four times the average yield in Nigeria.
In a statement, the company stated that more than 100 hectares have been cultivated out of the total expanse, and yields from the first commercial harvest have exceeded the initial projection, which was 30 metric tonnes per hectare.
When the complete 500 hectare expanse is cultivated, overall production would be over 15,000 metric tonnes from the commercial farm alone, stating that the project also runs a farmer out grower program that covers over 2000 farmers currently.
The project is part of the backward integration drive of Olam-Caraway, in strengthening local sourcing of raw materials for the company’s tomato paste factory in Lagos, where popular brands of tomato pastes such as De Rica and Tasty Tom are produced.
Caraway required 18,000 metric tonnes of concentrate per annum and with the current backward integration efforts, would be able to reduce the shortfall in sourcing inputs.
The Head of Farming Initiatives, Olam, Mr. Reji George, said the investment is driven to complement the thrust and direction of moving agriculture into a self-reliant and sustainable model by the Federal Government of Nigeria, ensuring enough and quality food to the population, as well as environmental sustainability.
The Business Head, Packaged Food Business, Caraway (Olam Group), Mr. Premender Sethi, said the stride in achieving a local supply chain for raw materials, represented, “a complete end to end supply chain solution for domestic markets – right from growing to crushing to processing to packaging for the domestic markets (from naturally grown high quality fresh tomatoes).”
For the Director General, Jigawa State Investment Promotion Agency, Ms. Furera Isma Jumare, the significance of the Caraway’s tomato project is that it would showcase the state as one of the largest tomato-producing states in the country.
“The caraway project, especially with harvest already beginning within a short period of time, clearly shows the tomato potential of the state, and it will put us right on the map of those that are the largest producers,” Jumare said.