Tomato Scarcity Looms as Farmers Lose 1.3bn & 300 Hectares To “Ebola”
The affected states are mainly Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Gombe, but the insects don’t need a visa to go to any other states as far as the conditions are right.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
A shortage is imminent as Tuta Absoluta, also known as Tomato Ebola, is already destroying tomato plants across the nation, with costs as high as N1.3 billion. In response to the circumstance, the Federal Government, the Nigeria Agribusiness Group, the Nigerian Horticultural Research Institute, NIHORT, Hort Nigeria, Sygenta, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, and others have joined forces to combat the disease.
At a briefing held by Horti Nigeria with backing from the Netherlands, they raised the alarm on tomato Ebola and added that the devouring insects were destroying enormous investments made by farmers in the states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Gombe.
The NABG President, Emmanuel Ijewere, said that the invading insects had been declared completely at “War” by all parties involved. Ijewere emphasized that the troubling development cannot be left to the farmers alone as NABG organized a stakeholders’ meeting to address the issue because, in the sense that they have heavily invested in their farms for tomato production, farmers—and not even processors—are the ones who suffer the most.
He said: “Tuta Absoluta is an insect that has ravaged tomato farms and from what we have discovered, the insect is very devastating to the tomato and is so smart.
“The insects have decided to build their homes under the leaves and when the insecticide is sprayed it doesn’t affect them.
“The affected states are mainly Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Gombe, but the insects don’t need visa to go to any other states as far as the conditions are right.
“Climate change has enhanced the movement of pests around the field; the warm environment helps them to spread wide, and increased humidity allows these pests to thrive, hence the new outbreak of Tuta Absoluta.
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