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Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria - Agriculture - Nairaland

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Mirah Mehta-young American Lady Who Is A Tomato Farmer In Northern Nigeria / Tomato Jos: Mira Metha, Harvard Graduate Who Is A Tomato Farmer In Nigeria / Preserve Fresh Tomato Paste For A Year (no Refrigeration Or Preservatives) (2) (3) (4)

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Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Adesiji77: 2:15pm On Dec 02, 2015
More than 200,000 farmers grow tomatoes but half their crop rots. A start­up wants to unlock their wasted potential, writes Maggie Fick of the Financial Times.

Visit any grocery store in Lagos or any market in rural Nigeria and you will find an array of tomato paste brands. This staple is big business in the country ­ among the world’s top consumers and the biggest importer.

Although more than 200,000 Nigerian farmers grow tomatoes, not one of the more than 50 tomato paste brands for sale is made from their produce, ­ about half of which rot in the fields before reaching a market. Instead, multinationals such as Olam, the Singapore-­based commodities trading house, bring in shipping containers of paste made from tomatoes grown in California and China, with only final stage processing done in Lagos.

The gap between Nigeria’s farming potential and dismal performance began widening about 40 years ago, when the economic distortions caused by a booming oil industry started killing off agribusiness, transforming Nigeria from one of the world’s leading food producers into one of its biggest importers.

The previous government’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) aimed to reverse the decline. Policymakers believed that impediments to private investment had stymied the sector. Among the proposed reforms were steps to encourage increased production and processing of tomatoes. Four years after the launch of the ATA, not a single local or foreign company is processing fresh tomatoes in Nigeria.

The new government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May, has yet to define a new policy. When it comes to tomato paste, the prospect ofexploiting local production to create an efficient, fully Nigeria-­based supply chain is still so daunting that private sector players from Nigerian business magnates to multinationals ­ are wary of the substantial investments that would be required to even attempt such a feat.

That dilemma is not new: the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says that over the past two decades, Nigeria’s value­-added agriculture sector has grown by less than 1 per cent annually. Despite the odds, Mira Mehta, a 31­year­old Harvard Business School graduate, has done her research and taken the plunge of launching her own start­up, Tomato Jos.

The US entrepreneur, who previously worked on health projects in Nigeria for the Clinton Foundation, said she had begun thinking about possible farming projects after driving past what had looked like crimson carpets as farmers dried their unsold crop on the hot tarmac. “The image of the pools of red lining the side of the road stuck with me and started making me think of agriculture in Nigeria and where the gaps were and it just seemed like a big waste,” Ms Mehta said, speaking from her base in a converted chicken coop on her farm.

Using $300,000 she raised in seed capital from six angel investors and a Kickstarter campaign, Ms Mehta plans to test her theory that a profitable agribusiness that also benefits local farmers and consumers can work in Nigeria. The Bostonian leased three hectares in Nasarawa state from the only white Zimbabwean farmer still working there of a group of 20 who were given land by the state government a decade ago.

The rest were defeated by poor infrastructure, confusing bureaucracy and the difficulty of importing essential inputs, such as machinery. Tomato Jos faced problems in its first planting season last year ­ from poor irrigation to overuse of fertiliser in the nursery ­ that forced Ms Mehta and her team to start again with new seedlings.

Through applying some of the lessons learned with the first crop, the goal for her second harvest next year is to squeeze about 10 times the average national yield out of the land. Mehta says this is possible because she is deploying a more intensive fertiliser programme than local farmers, as well as using higher quality seed and more stringent nursery conditions. In addition to her own crop, she plans to buy tomatoes from about a dozen local farmers.

The fresh produce will then be taken to a processing facility in the city of Zaria, north of the farm. The equipment was assembled in 2013, but has yet to be used commercially because it is owned by the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), a parastatal that does not have a mandate to sell its end­product. Though Mehta has yet to test drive her supply chain, she has a ready market for her paste. Ram Mahadevan, head of packaged foods for Olam, seller of Tasty Tom and De Rica, two of the most popular brands in Nigeria, says he is ready “to buy every kilogramme of tomato paste” Tomato Jos can produce. Olam wants to support domestic supply and has suggested to the Buhari administration that it conduct a feasibility study into how to create and scale a proce to create and scale a processing industry.
http://businessdayonline.com/2015/12/havard-graduate-works-to-produce-tomato-paste-in-nigeria/

10 Likes 1 Share

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by efilefun(m): 3:19pm On Dec 02, 2015
Nice idea, atleast this will encourage farmers unlike shoprite who import their fruits from South Africa

31 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by nnamdibig(m): 3:20pm On Dec 02, 2015
More of these will make Nigeria depending less on foreign goods. But $300,000 no be beans ooo

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by coolluk(m): 3:20pm On Dec 02, 2015
The people above me are dense

2 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Horlawale1(m): 3:20pm On Dec 02, 2015
Let's wait and see
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by macuwon(m): 3:20pm On Dec 02, 2015
Someone should help me summarise it, i couldnt read it coz am afraid of all dis endtime posts cool

2 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Rumpelstiltskin(m): 3:21pm On Dec 02, 2015
Good........Ideas rule the world!
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by horexy(f): 3:21pm On Dec 02, 2015
Summary? undecided
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by tempest01(m): 3:21pm On Dec 02, 2015
These are the type of projects state government should have sponsored and encouraged when oil had value and niger delta was filling their purses.

When another period of oil boom comes...we Will forget the lessons learned from this present state of things.

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by HelloBiafra: 3:22pm On Dec 02, 2015
Na today we begin hear this kind story?

By the time she go enter, no be person go tell am make e run comot naija.

1 Like

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by undefeated(m): 3:22pm On Dec 02, 2015
the provision of the needed social amenities will further boost our economy. Weldon guy
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Nobody: 3:22pm On Dec 02, 2015
mtcheww
end time rubbish
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Nobody: 3:22pm On Dec 02, 2015
macuwon:
Someone should help me summarise it
he say if you graduate from harvad university abroad, make you come Nigeria come do tomatoes farming. say you go make ya money big time.

come later say our government no dey give job again say guys have to shine eyes HUSTLE GET MONEY.

12 Likes 1 Share

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by saracus(f): 3:22pm On Dec 02, 2015
That will be nice.
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Nobody: 3:23pm On Dec 02, 2015
[size=38pt]This guy go like food sha grin.. Anyway, let's Clap for our tomato boy!!![/size]

2 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by ChrisKonor: 3:24pm On Dec 02, 2015
nicee...
Latest fashion & beauty blog - http://www.ilookdope.com
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by henchamb(m): 3:24pm On Dec 02, 2015
BedLam:
F
bisdam9086:
Kin kan mi
Omotohfine:
Ok
nnamdibig:
Ok
HelloBiafra:
xc
tempest01:
B
HelloBiafra:
xc
olayes:
f
nnamdibig:
Ok
efilefun:
angry
smh for you guys,
una see Havard una run enter

12 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by bisdam9086(m): 3:24pm On Dec 02, 2015
Kin kan mi
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by macuwon(m): 3:25pm On Dec 02, 2015
sonofananimal:
he say if you graduate from harvad university abroad, make you come Nigeria come do tomatoes farming.

That can never happen in dis endtime grin
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by coldsummer: 3:25pm On Dec 02, 2015
Innovation. I like

Hope nafdac won't frustrate them





BTW, when is buhari going to come visit our own Nigeria. (jokes)

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Angeltoyo(f): 3:25pm On Dec 02, 2015
Alright
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by BedLam: 3:25pm On Dec 02, 2015
This is why Americans always soar. She was able to raise 300k usd. I wonder what we use our money for in Nigeria. No one is ready to fund your idea, they rather seen it die and use the money for frivolous owambe and bragging rights. Smh for this kontwi.

3 Likes

Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by HelloBiafra: 3:26pm On Dec 02, 2015
Goahead:
To my Igbo brothers in the northern part of the country, please don't sleep and snore away like Buhari, at least for the next week.
may amadioha punish your soul.
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by Nobody: 3:27pm On Dec 02, 2015
macuwon:


That can never happen in dis endtime grin
bros! he dey happen Weller cos we dey for end time
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by TruthHurts1(m): 3:27pm On Dec 02, 2015
The name sounds Indian
Re: Mira Mehta To Produce Tomato Paste In Nigeria by smartacos: 3:28pm On Dec 02, 2015
reading literature book say na post....summarize joor

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