The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has warned against the consumption of canned tomatoes noting that such can cause cancer.
The administration through its Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat gave the warning in Abuja, the nation’s capital while training no fewer than three hundred (300) women that were drawn across the six area councils on the best techniques to process and preserve tomatoes.
The team Leader and Chief Planning Officer of the secretariat, Mrs Oladoja Margaret said, the two-day event drew 50 leaders of women from each of the six Area Councils and trained them so that they would go back to train other women in their councils.
While speaking on the essence of the training, Mrs Oladoja said that, “we realized that there are some seasons tomatoes will be so cheap and there are times that a basket will be going for N10,000 to N15,000 and at that time, majority of the women will not be able to afford it.
“So we thought of how we could help these women get this product when it is cheap, process and preserve it so that they can eat it throughout the year.
“Another thing is that, we want people to desist from consumption of chemically processed foods, because recently there has been many cases of people using chemicals to process and preserve food, so we are out to sensitize them on the dangers of chemicals in our food.”
The Leader of the team explained that though tin or sachet tomatoes was not cancerous in itself, it was the presence of three poisonous chemicals used in preserving such tomatoes that rendered them cancerous.
According to her, harmful chemicals found in tin and sachet tomatoes include colour, which is added to make them red and attractive to the public; backing powder with starch, which is meant to thicken it; ajinomoto, which makes the products sweet and preservatives for keeping make them for many years.
Mrs Oladoja also said that the training would help the FCT women, their families and small business owners consume healthy tomatoes, prevent post-harvest losses, empower them economically, provide good health and save resources.
Beneficiaries of the training
Participants at the training thanked the FCT Administration for the opportunity to learn new things and promised they would put them to use.
Mrs. Deborah Joshua Gazama, commended the opportunities afforded by the training in setting up small businesses.
Another participant, Mrs. Nnenna Mercy Chukwuma, described the gesture as “lovely and a solution to our problem in post-harvest losses in the area of tomatoes.”
According to her, she learnt how to preserve tomatoes and make use of it after more than six months, even as she called on other women and men to key into the training because it was a wonderful and money-saving one.
Another beneficiary, Mrs. Adoo Tyoban said that she did not know why her tomatoes used to blacken after boiling until when she attended the training.
Both in the theory and practicals, the women were taught that when boiling tomatoes, they should cover the pot firmly, should not add water because the product already has water, and they were shown how to air-tightly cover the glass bottles after putting the boiled product in to it make it last for longer times and stay fresh.
The training had two components both theoretical and practical which were handled by Olawale Adeoje of Tomatrix Nigeria Limited and Bridget Olahe.