Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, Managing Director of Dangote Tomato Processing Factory, Kadawa, Kano State, says the company is relying on local fresh tomatoes as raw materials for its operations.
Kaita said in a statement in Kano on Friday that the factory did not require any foreign exchange to import its raw materials.
He urged members of the public to disregard the story in a national newspaper that the factory was shut due to lack of foreign exchange.
The managing director said that the factory had completed the necessary arrangements to resume production in the first week of February when the fresh tomato season would start.
He explained that the company stopped production about nine months ago due to lack of enough raw materials, following the outbreak of a pest which ravaged tomato farms in five states including Kano.
“The company had to suspend production in March 2016, when most of the tomato farms in about five states were affected by a pest which destroyed all tomato species,” he said.
He countered a report on its purported closure over lack of foreign exchange to continue operations at the factory.
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication that the Dangote Tomato Factory has been closed down due to lack of foreign exchange.
“We wish to categorically refute this story that does not emanate from our company,” Kaita said.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture puts an annual current demand for tomato puree at 900,000 tonnes.
When the Dangote factory was opened, it was expected to provide 430,000 tonnes of paste that was used widely in Nigerian dishes from jollof rice to fiery soups.
Nigeria is such a huge market for tomato paste that we will find quite challenging to satisfy,” the factory’s general manager, Abdulkarim Kaita, had earlier said.