The Federal Government has said it would soon ban tomato paste being imported from China because they constitute health hazards to Nigerian consumers.
Addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, described the tomato paste being dumped into Nigeria from China as “poisonous.”
According to Lokpobiri, “China has been dumping their tomato paste into Nigeria, which National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified in the laboratory to be poisonous.
“With Derica and Dangote Tomato pastes, Nigeria is now self-sufficient in tomato paste production.
“But China is now dumping their poisonous tomato paste in the Nigerian market so that Nigerian producers will not make sales.
“But we have resolved to ban their tomato paste in Nigeria, despite all the agreements and international treaties. We will ban them soon.
“This is not only applicable to Nigeria. Africa has been a dumping ground for the Western countries. They don’t want to lose their huge market in Nigeria and Africa.”
Speaking on the European Union’s ban on Nigerian beans, the minister said it was politically motivated.
“The ban on Nigeria’s beans to European Union was politically motivated. The European Union does not want to lose its market, which was why it banned Nigerian beans”, he said.
Lokpobiri further called on Nigerians to patronise locally made food, describing most of the food items being imported into Nigeria as poisonous.
He specifically pointed out that the rice which Nigeria spends over $6 million daily to import from Asian countries and Thailand has often expired, having been kept in their silos for over 15 years.
While absolving his ministry of blame on the continued flooding of these food items into the Nigerian markets, the minister said all agencies of government in charge of Nigeria’s border must rise up to perform their statutory responsibilities.