Aliko Dangote, the President of
Dangote Group, is one of the rare
breed of industrialists who
commands my respect. And it
isn’t because he vaulted into the
number one position of Africa’s
richest man. Rather, my approval
is a recognition of his
understanding that Africa’s
redemption is firmly rooted in her
self-sufficiency through
industrialization. All else is
nothing but “shadows and dust”.
One of his recent ventures –
Dangote Tomato Processing
Factory in Kadawa, Kano State –
underscores his passion to
explore potentials that intensifies
the trajectory to self-reliance,
especially in consumer goods.
Tomato paste – a gooey dense
paste made from fresh tomato
fruits, is a staple of Nigeria’s
runaway acquired taste for
foreign foods. And the cost is
significant. As the largest importer
and consumer of tomato paste in
Africa, a weighty slice of the
country foreign purse is handed
over to indulge this habit.
Understandably, the need to
secure this market niche is an
attractive prospect for some
Nigerian businesses for reasons
beyond patriotic concerns.
Dangote Tomato Processing
venture, although a commendable
project, appears to suffer from a
deficient supply projection;
viability of supplies may have
slipped through the cracks of
reality in the mad rushed to set up
shop.
As recent as a few weeks ago, the
onslaught of a common pest
known as “Tuta Absoluta”
completely shut down the entire
tomato industry across the
country (Dangote Tomato
processing factory included), and
decimated the local consumer
market, with prices shooting up
5,000 percent for a basket of
tomatoes.
This stark situation exemplifies
the need to rethink strategies for
the supply chain of raw tomatoes
to factories. Maintaining a
seamless conveyor of raw
materials to factories is an
elemental production task that
can keep most production
managers sleepless.
Agro-allied industries supply
chain is especially sensitive to
disruptions as their raw materials
are far more reactive to whims of
weather, pest or crop diseases
compare to inanimate minerals.
Gratefully, modern technology
and smarter strategies globally
have evolved to ensure these
disruptions are minimized or
eliminated completely. Today, the
tomato industry sidesteps the
vagaries of poor weather, pest,
diseases, or other undesirables,
by using greenhouses – hundreds
of acres of controlled environment
that ensure all year supply of
tomatoes.
According to the New York Times,
a 42 acres greenhouse facility in
Madision, Maine delivers one
million tomatoes every week,
come rain, snow or sunshine
outside while a similar facility
spans over 318 acres in Arizona.
Even these massive commercial
greenhouses are considered puny
compared to the massive 1,600
acres commercial greenhouse
facilities in Leamington, Ontario,
Canada! Or the greenhouse “city”
of Almería, in Andalucía, Spain
with over 49,000 acres
greenhouses.
That’s enough tomatoes to keep
Dangote Tomato Processing
Factory running uninterrupted for
a hundred years! Before the take-
off of tomato processing factories,
tomatoes growers in Nigeria
routinely complained of lack of
storage facilities and spoilage due
to excess capacity. However, the
projected tonnage of tomatoes
that cultivators had promised to
deliver for processing to the
tomato industry across the
country have since fallen short of
target. More worrisome is the fact
that these “producers” lack
capacity to overcome trite
agricultural challenges in the
cultivation cycle.
Issues of drought, access to
fertilizer, pest or diseases have
proven superior to their best
efforts at bountiful harvest. I have
posited often that there is nothing
Sport Extra Oscar Pistorius is a
“broken” man and should not be
sent to jail, a psychologist said
yesterday, at the South African
athlete’s sentencing hearing.
According to BBC Sport, defence
witness, Dr. Jonathan Scholtz.
said Pistorius is suffering from
“major depression”.
Pistorius was convicted at the end
of last year of the 2013 murder of
his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
He faces a jail term of 15 years
but it may be reduced due to time
already spent in prison and
mitigating factors. The hearing is
expected to last all week with a
sentence by Friday.
Dr. Scholtz explained to the court
why he felt a jail term would not
be “constructive”. “Since the
offence he has developed a
serious psychiatric condition
which has become worse over the
past two years,” he told the
Pistorius: Psychologist pleads to
mitigate sentence Pistorius
Dangote’s basket of smashed
tomatoes Today, the tomato
industry sidesteps the vagaries of
poor weather, pest, diseases, or
other undesirables, by using
greenhousescourt. Instead of a
custodial sentence, Pistorius
should do community service so
that he could help others and had
a job offer as a project manager
in an early childhood development
programme run by his uncle’s
company, Scholz said.wrong with
Nigeria but Nigerians. In both
private and public sectors, our
productive strategies, though
exceedingly detailed, encapsulate
perilous flaws. To further
complicate matters,
implementation adds a stewed
flavor to an already knotty issue.
We usually put the cart before the
horse, and demand full speed
ahead! As a point in
consideration, the recent
proliferation of tomato paste
factories has seen a hurricane of
businesses going into the
tomatoes processing, without a
clear path to adequate raw
material supply chain in their
business plan. A recipe for
disaster. Because compensating
structures are weak in Nigeria’s
business ecosystem, a minute
upset in the value chain can lead
to a seismic upheaval or collapse
of an entire business.
Alternatives are mostly lacking or
unattainable. For instance, if you
depend on ‘independent’ power
generation (generator) to power
your business, you had better
have a second idle generator as
backup, with the commercial
electricity a distant third backup
because its reliability is suspect at
any time.
For Tomato processing factories,
attention to sustaining the supply
chain appear weak from onset.
Take British American Tobacco
(BAT) Nigeria for example. One
can hazard a guess that if their
entire raw material supply chain
is not retailed solely with local
farmers, they would have been
out of business by now. Chiefly,
an end-to-end engagement
guarantees that they control every
aspect of the supply chain from
owning the farms to marketing of
the finished product.
The burgeoning tomato puree
industry in Nigeria must establish
their own commercial greenhouse
acreage farms that will guarantee
an interrupted supply of raw
materials (tomatoes) all year
round. Commercial greenhouse
technology involves the use of
large enclosure of transparent
glass, fiberglass or plastics and
climatic regulators, to grow
commercial crops at optimal
conditions.
Similarly, Dangote Tomato
Processing and his co-travelers in
the tomato industry must own,
and/or immerse their resources in
developing the farming of
tomatoes to guarantee an all year
round supply. Anything else is a
recipe for failure.

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