A global leader in culinary product manufacturing, GBfoods has partnered CBN, Kebbi State Government and the Emirate of Yauri to build a N20 billion tomato processing factory in Kebbi State.
The factory is said to be the second largest in Nigeria and the only fully backward integrated plant in ECOWAS - and has the largest single tomatoes farm in Nigeria.
When all phases of the project are finished, the factory will be the largest fresh tomatoes processing factory in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The investment, in the world-class factory and adjoining farm, includes a drip irrigation and fertigation infrastructure, greenhouses, seed planting robots, an incubation chambers and a plethora of agricultural machinery.
According to GBfoods, the farm will serve a dual purpose, it will produce industrial tomatoes in the dry season and soya beans in the raining season.
The firm says the tomato factory will convert fresh tomatoes into tomato concentrate used for producing Gino Tomatoes Paste and Gino Tomato Pepper Onion Paste while the soya bean will be used to process soya-bean oil which is a critical ingredient for GBfoods' Bama and Jago Mayonnaise.
The project is said to have created over 1,000 jobs including: 500 farming jobs, 150 factory jobs and 150 construction jobs. GBfoods also engaged many small holder farmers as out-growers.
The CEO of GBfoods Africa, Mr. Vicenç Bosch, said apart from training the out-growers on good agricultural practices, GBfoods provided them with tomatoes seedlings, agrochemicals and various equipment such as water pumps and hose pipes, enabling the farmers access to water in the dry season.
GBfoods also supported the host communities by providing and maintaining 16 boreholes of drinking water, a first for some of the surrounding villages.
He added: "The factory is fully backwardly integrated to the company's farm and dedicated out-growers. In the coming tomatoes season, the plant will source most of its raw material from out-growers who will grow the tomatoes on their own farms and from GBfoods' owned and operated farm."
With the factory engaging over 5,000 small holder farmers as out-growers in the coming tomatoes season to grow fresh tomatoes, Bosch commended the federal government for encouraging and supporting GBfoods to engage with CBN, ministries, departments and agencies to ensure the successful completion of the factory.
The CEO further expressed his gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investments, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Kebbi State Government and the Ngaski Local Government Authorities for their tremendous support towards the actualisation of the project.
Speaking on their team of extension workers, he said consultants and agronomists were ensuring that the Nigerian farmers benefit from the technology transfer of our best practices and know-how built through over 40 years of successful tomato operations in Italy and Spain.
Speaking during opening of the factory, the Country Manager, GBfoods Nigeria Mr. Vincent Egbe, averred that the opening commissioning of this processing factory is a great milestone for them.
This, he said, demonstrates the company's commitment towards helping Nigeria achieve its food security ambitions in this case of self-sufficiency in tomato concentrate production. "We will continue to work with the Federal Government towards food security and local production and processing of fresh tomatoes".
Highlighting the company's quest, Egbe noted they are dedicated to reducing pre and post-harvest losses, and developing the value chain to improve revenue streams for tomato farmers.
His words: "Over the past three years in Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi, GBfoods has worked with smallholder out-growers to boost their incomes by providing seedlings, fertilisers, training, and irrigation pumps, further to reduce post-harvest losses GBfoods also provided free plastic crates to farmers."
"GBfoods is working with FG and CBN to make Nigeria not only a shining example in food security, but also to become the food basket of Africa," he said.
He especially thanked the Buhari administration; the Kebbi Governor, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu; CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele; and the Emir of Yauri, Dr Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi for working tirelessly to create an enabling investment environment for GBfoods backwards integration project in tomatoes.
The country manager further divulged that additional land is expected this September to be cleared and prepared for the farming season of October next year.
Assuring that the expansion would be similarly accompanied by an upgrade in the factory's capacity, he expressed that with the expansion, new jobs would also be created.
Meanwhile, GBfoods has a wide range of quality well-established brands in Nigeria such as Gino, Bama and Jago, under which they manufacture a wide range of quality products that make the daily lives of many African families easier.
Products under their brands include Gino Tomatoes Mix; Gino Pepper Onion, Gino Thyme; Gino Curry; Gino Chicken and Beef Cubes; Bama Mayonnaise as well as Jago Mayonnaise.
GBfoods investments is on the quest to satisfy local culinary habits and preferences whilst offering the healthiest and best ingredients for the Nigerian cuisine.