GBFoods unveils N20billion tomato processing factory

At a time when many businesses are going under or scaling back investments due to uncertain business climate occasioned by global Covid-19 pandemic, GBfoods, a global leader in culinary product manufacturing and the business behind Gino tomato paste, has taken a bold step not only to unmask itself but to unveil a multi billion naira investment.

During a virtual meeting, GBFoods announced that contrary to expectations, it is scaling up investments and production activities in the Nigerian market. The company, in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kebbi State government and Yauri Emirate announced the completion of a N20 billion tomato processing facility in the state. The measure was in line with GBFoods’ aim to satisfy local culinary habits and preferences whilst offering the healthiest and best ingredients for the Nigerian cuisine.

GBFoods Corporate Affairs Director, Teddy Ngu, explained at the occasion that the choice of Kebbi State for the factory and farming activities was a result of painstaking search for enabling environment to grow and process tomatoes. The factory, he said, was the second largest in Nigeria and the only fully backward integrated plant in the whole of ECOWAS sub region with about 5, 344 farmers the largest single tomatoes farm in Nigeria.

Giving more insight into the investment, he said the world-class factory and its adjoining farm boast of drip irrigation and fertigation infrastructure, greenhouses, seed planting robots, incubation chambers and a plethora of other agricultural machineries.

Mr. Ngu, who disclosed that the best industrial tomatoes were produced during dry season, said that the farm would serve a dual purposes of producing industrial tomatoes during off season and soya beans in the raining season to get the best yields for the major raw materials used in production of tomatoes’ paste and mayonnaise respectively.

“The tomato factory will convert fresh tomatoes into tomato concentrate used for producing Gino Tomato 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,” Ngu added.

Throwing more light on the reasons behind GBFoods massive investment at this trying times, Ngu said part of GBFoods DNA was to be patriotic in any country of operation both in good and bad times.

“To this end, GBFoods has created over 1,000 direct jobs, including 500 farming jobs, 150 factory jobs and 150 construction jobs. In addition, over 5000 small holder farmers are engaged as out-growers who are trained on good agricultural practices, provided with tomato seedlings, agrochemicals and various equipment such as water pumps and hose pipes that enables them 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 explained.

The factory is fully backwardly integrated to the company’s farm and dedicated out-growers. In the coming tomatoes season, the plant will also 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. The factory is engaging over 5,000 small holder farmers as out-growers, in the coming tomatoes season, to grow fresh tomatoes.

In a similar vein, the CEO of GBfoods Africa, Vicenç Bosch, commended the Nigerian government for encouraging and supporting GBfoods to engage with CBN, ministries, departments and agencies to ensure the successful completion of the factory. He also 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.

“Our team of extension workers, consultants and agronomists are 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,” he said.

Also speaking at the virtual meeting, the company’s Country Manager, Vincent Egbe, described the formal commissioning of the state of the art processing factory as a milestone in the annals of tomato processing in Nigeria.

“It further demonstrates our commitment towards achieving food security and self-sufficiency in production of tomato concentrate in Nigeria. We will continue to work with the federal government towards achieving food security and local production and processing of fresh tomatoes,” he assured.

He explained: “Our investment in local manufacture started two years ago. It cuts across spices, mayonnaise and taste enhancers. We have the capacity to supply other African markets. We are not portfolio companies that only export to Nigeria, but our business security is tied to our food security. Our investment goal in Nigeria is consistent with ensuring food security for the locals as well as the security and general well-being of Nigerian citizens.”

He disclosed that in the past three years, the three states of Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi, GBfoods has worked with smallholder out-growers to boost their incomes by providing seedlings, fertilizers, training, and irrigation pumps.

Mr. Egbe especially thanked President Mohamnadu Buhari administration, the Kebbi State Governor, His Excellency Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Emir of Yauri, Dr. Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi for teaming up to create an enabling investment environment for GBfoods’ backward integration project in tomatoes production.

GBfoods has a wide range of quality well-established brands in Nigeria such as Gino tomato paste, Bama and Jago, Gino Tomatoes Mix, Gino Pepper Onion, Gino Thyme; Gino Curry; Gino Chicken and Beef Cubes; Bama Mayonnaise as well as Jago Mayonnaise.

GBFoods which started in Barcelona, Spain in the 1937 has operations in seven African countries, including Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic and Guinea Conakry. For so many years, Gino brand of tomato paste has excited the palates of many Nigerians. A culinary delight, Gino tomato paste, has successfully dominated Nigerian kitchens to the delight of families.


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