Environmental News

The real story about the Tomato crisis

Tuta absoluta Infestation. That is the name of the pest causing many Nigerians alot of pain when purchasing tomatoes.

Tuta absoluta with common name tomato leafminer or the South American tomato moth and has been spreading rapidly across the world from South America, where it was first discovered. It has the ability to destroy a whole tomato farm within 48 hours and is also very difficult to control as it has a high mutation capacity with the ability to develop a resistance to insecticides. Around this time last year, farmers in some parts of Nigeria recorded losses as a result of this same pest attack but the consequences of weren’t reflected in the price of the commodity because the demand for the crop wasn’t as high as it is now.

Kaduna state Commissioner of Agriculture, Maigari Daniel Manzo, at a recent news conference in Kaduna said 80 percent of tomato farms have been ravaged by the pests. He further stated that over  200 tomato farmers in  three out of the 12 tomato producing Local Government Areas of the state, were affected by the pest  and the farmers in these local governments have lost about N1 billion worth of tomatoes in the last one month.

In view of this, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday said that experts have been called in to appraise the situation and work on methods that have been effective in other countries. He further stated that the ministry would start treating affected sites in the next few days. According to the minister, the cost of treating the infection would be expensive and it is likely to cost N5 per tomato plant.

The government will also have to educate farmers on how to control the infestation just like an immunization programme. And this can only work if the government collaborates with state governors and commissioners of Agriculture.

Source: Ventures Africa