10 Mile 12 Tomatoes Dealers Sign Pact With GEMS4 On GHP | Independent Newspapers Limited
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10 Mile 12 Tomatoes Dealers Sign Pact With GEMS4 On GHP

Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

10 members of the Tomatoes Sellers Association of Nigeria, Mile 12 market, Lagos have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Growth and Employment Service in States (GEMS4) on the use of Good Handling Practices (GHP).

The MoU was informed by the need to improve the process of handling perishables in Nigeria as the GEMS4 project which is funded by the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International identified poor mode of harvest, storage, packaging, transporting, distribution and others as factors that expose perishable products in Nigeria to quick damage.

Speaking at a press conference which held at market to announce the deal, GEMS4 team leader, Arafat Hossain said there was need for proper understanding of all stakeholders in the tomatoes value chain and proper handling of the produce.

According to him, GEMS4 was an initiative to teach people in perishable products value chain on how to improve in the proper and hygienic ways of handling perishable produce in Nigeria.

He explained that the organization was using tomato produce as an entry into the perishable markets across the country.

He said, “It was discovered that about half of the tomatoes produce get damaged in transit, to the market, carriage and even during offloading.

He added, “It is also noted that the left over after the damages determines the price of tomatoes in the market.”

Hossain stated that GEMS4 is committed to reduce losses suffered on perishable produce in the country, contending that volume of damaged tomatoes was about 40 per cent.

Pointing out that damages occur due to two different reasons of poor applications of goods handling services and poor carriage on transit, Hossain said such colossal wastes are avoidable.

“Tomatoes are usually packed is wooden basket known as ‘raffia basket’ for stocking over the other which make the goods get damaged when transporting it.”

He stated that the prime idea of GEMS4 was to minimise damage suffered by tomatoes dealers and farmers in the markets through the introduction of GHP and encouragement of the use of plastic crates.

The plastic crates, he explained are stackable and does not press the tomatoes during transportation, neither does it damage it when offloading from the truck as well.

He said that the GHP is a method where farmers and traders are trained on how to pack, clean, and sort their goods before sales.

Hossain said, “This method help and encouraged them to sort their tomatoes in such a way that the ripped, unripe, strong, less strong are sorted out before sales and thus give additional value to the produce in the market”.

This new concept had earlier been introduce to Mile 12 market and two other markets in Kano and Kaduna to test run its effectiveness for use in other markets across the country.

Arafat explained that with this current quality of tomatoes in the market, GEMS4 was able to encourage hotels, restaurant and catering services in states to patronise the selected tomatoes market in the Nigeria instead of importing their goods from South Africa.

Also, Chairman Tomatoes Sellers Association Mile 12 market, Alhaji Haruna Muhammad expressed confidence that the concept would add value to their products and market.

Represented by Mr. Sheu Uthman, the chairman said he was encouraged to key into the idea having experienced such during his sojourn to South Africa.

Representative of the Lagos State Perishable Committee, Ministry of Agriculture, Adegboyega Adebisi advised the team to keep monitoring the project until it is fully effective in the market. 

He said settling up a project is always easy but continuity might be challenging saying “even if the team is giving out lots of plastic basket to the trader, it should still be monitored.”