Nigeria imports vegetables

Importing vegetables into Nigeria is highly profitable even though not many people know that the big sized tomatoes, onions, pepper and others they see at supermarkets and other shops, especially in Abuja, are imported and of high breed production, the shop keeper of NAL vegetables at the central area of Abuja, Alhaji Nuhu Adamu, has said.

Alhaji Nuhu said he and other vegetable dealers are importing high breed vegetables from countries like Israel, Poland and Saudi Arabia because the imported vegetables are more nutritious and can be preserved in fridge or at cold places for weeks without getting bad.

One of the major farmers and member of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Alhaji Muktar Mohammed Chiromawa, said fresh tomatoes, not canned ones, are now being imported into Nigeria, adding that, “even cucumber, salad leaves and other vegetables are now being imported. Go to all these big supermarkets in Abuja and you will see imported vegetables and fruits in their show glasses.

“These are things we can grow at our backyards. Our local farmers need to be empowered with improved seeds to produce all these things here in Nigeria.

“There are varieties of cucumber by our doorsteps. Just put a pot and plant one, you will harvest about 30 tubers at a go. You can do that at your backyard without necessarily going to farm. All these opportunities are there, we only need the government to make it attractive for the youth to come into agriculture. That will reduce all these issues of insurgency, insecurity, lack of employment and improve our food security.

“The world is becoming organic. Most people do not like all these junk food in cans. If China can feed its people and even export with their population, I think Nigeria can do the same with little effort from the government. Nigeria has vast land, water everywhere and a lot of money, why can’t we venture into that?”, he said.

But Plateau State government has instead of importing vegetables, resorted into the importation of vegetable seeds for the production of improved vegetables in the state, Beatrice Gyang, a staff of the state Agricultural Service Training Centre (ASTC), has said.

“We import our seeds from Israel. The cucumber we grow does not have seeds in it but it has water and more flesh in it than our local cucumber. We also import tomatoes and pepper seeds from Israel and plant them here. They grow bigger and look more attractive than the local ones. They also have longer life span. It takes them longer time, sometimes additional weeks without getting rotten compared to the local species. They are not sour and have very little seeds in them with much flesh and one will enjoy eating them like that,” she said.

But the managing director of one of the major seeds companies in the country, Maslaha Seeds, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, said though his company is into the production of certified seeds, they rely on research institutes to supply them with foundation seeds which the companies process and develop into certified seeds that will be given to farmers to plant, adding, “anytime government wants any type of seed to be given to farmers they know what to do. They will ask the research institutes to develop the foundation seeds then we buy from them and develop into certified seeds.”

Written by Shehu Abubakar




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