In Nigeria, tomatoes are grown in large and commercial scale especially in the North, but consumed equally across the length and breadth of the entire country. Tomatoes are either used fresh or processed into paste, puree, ketchup and powder. Unfortunately, they are not only seasonal but highly perishable and deteriorate few days after harvest, which dampens the farmer’s spirit to farming as he is forced to sell off produce at a loss to avert imminent total wastage.
Canning of tomato paste has helped to curb this huge wastage, but the capital
Intensive nature of the industry has resulted into only a small percentage of the produce being absorbed by this industry. Dried tomatoes by direct drying in the sun are more durable but the end product is infested with dirt.
Canning of tomato paste have helped in curbing wastage in tomato farming especially during the season, but the capital intensive nature of the industry, the alteration in the taste of the product canned (as additives are added to aid in preservation) and the bulky nature of the paste product as well as poor durability, have all contributed to limiting the establishment of canning industries in Nigeria. As a result, only a small percentage of the produce is absorbed by this industry.
Dried tomatoes though more durable and without any need for additives, are currently produced by direct drying in the sun and in the open. The end product is infested with dirt and sand making it unhygienic to consume.
However, with the introduction of electrical solar driven drying system such as cabinet dryer, flash dryer, spray dryer, which can dry a tone of tomato in an hour, powder tomato has become an Agribusiness to venture with good return on investment and the season is now.