Ogbeh said a report by the National Agency for Food and Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says foreign tomato pastes imported into Nigeria are not good.
He stated this during the oversight visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, chaired by Rep Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) to the ministry in Abuja on Monday, November 28.
He said: “The Chinese are the ones messing us up on tomato paste. Each time Dangote tries to produce, they lower their prices. There’s a report by NAFDAC on the quality of foreign tomato pastes. The report is very bad.
“We think we have every reason in that report to ban foreign tomato pastes into the country. If you don’t ban it on health ground, you have to ban it on any other ground.”
Members of the committee asked the minister to explain the measures government is taking to avert food crisis next year in view of the influx of foreigners buying Nigerian grains.
Responding, Ogbeh said: “It’s time to fill our silos.
“The export is huge now, but if you stop it, farmers will get very angry. When you go round, they tell you they get so rich now. But if you stop it and the prices fall, you discourage farmers. We’re in the market now buying and storing.”
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that Nigerians can now buy a bag of local rice for as low as N8,000 as against N22,000 obtainable with foreign rice.
The apex bank said it’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for the promotion of agriculture has set the country to begin exportation of rice by 2017.