According to the President/CEO of Erisco Foods Limited, Chief Eric Odinaka Umeofia, Nigeria is incomparable to other countries like China, when it comes to producing tomatoes and other farm products. This is because Nigeria is known to have rich soil to support the growth of farm products. This only leads to the idea that Nigeria is more than capable of meeting the needs of people for tomato products thus, importing tomato products from other countries is not necessary.
Chief Umoefia supports the promotion of made in Nigeria products and in his recent interview with Neta Nwosu, he believes that there is no way the country is helped with the continuous importation of goods and the only way to uplift the country’s stagnant industrial sector is to sustain the new CBN Forex Policy.
Here is a glimpse on the highlights of the interview.
When did Erisco Foods Limited start?
Erisco Foods Limited is one of the members of Bonpet Group, which is based in Sokoto State, North-West Nigeria running for more than 30 years now. The operations began in the year 2009 wherein a brand of tomato paste is produced called Nagiko, then followed by another brand the Ric-Giko. Now, they have other products like sugar, rice, and monosodium glutamate. In short, Erisco Foods Limited is known as “home for great nutrition”.
What makes you different when it comes to food production?
The main aim of Erisco Foods Limited is to produce high quality and healthy foods for the nation of Nigeria. For so many years, the products of Erisco Foods Limited are certified good by certain government agencies compared to the substandard imported products, which in fact do not have health benefits for Nigerians.
Are those imported products considered as substandard and unsafe?
Definitely! There is a test on imported tomato paste brands conducted by NAFDAC, which revealed that “Tin Tomatoes” or the imported tomato paste coming from China are substandard showing 91.9 percent in total. These importers do not mean well for the Nigerians. It would be better to produce our own tomatoes locally and stop imports.
Why do you think so?
These cheaper yet unsafe alternatives may cause certain businesses to stop the production of local goods because local industries can’t compete with the prices of imported products. This will only result to the loss of thousands of jobs in the country. Therefore, this practice should be stopped.
According to some importers, they import these products because they believe that the farm produce is lesser in quality than those that are produced in developed climates?
The fact is that Nigeria’s soil is better than the other countries’. In fact, it is the third best soil in the whole world when it comes to growing tomatoes. Farm produce coming from Nigeria, especially tomatoes are the best that you can see. There is only one area that has an issue on growing tomatoes and it is all about the redness. But, this is only limited to some tomato farms but the rest are all good.