Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Tomato disease ravaging farms in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Gombe-FG

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Horti Nigeria, and Nigeria AgriBusiness Group (NABG), have collaborated to combat the recent outbreak of the tomato disease in the country known as Tuta Absoluta.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tuta Absoluta also known as “tomato Ebola” has affected mainly states like Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Gombe.

The stakeholders disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja, which was initiated by Hoti Nigeria and supported by the Netherlands.

Speaking at the event, Chief Emmanuel Ijewere, NABG President, said that it was imperative for key stakeholders to collaborate and harness resources to address the recent outbreak of the tomato disease.

He explained that Tuta Absaluta is an insect that have ravaged tomato farms, adding that it is a” smart” insect that is very devastating to the tomato.

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“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 States, but the insects don’t need visa to go to any other State as far as the conditions are right.

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” We are glad to have the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development here and we are working together to solve this problem.

“It is ‘war’ we are going to declare against these insects and all of us here will be providing the ‘weapons’ to achieve it,” he said.

Dr Deola LordBanjor, Director Horticulture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the current crisis with “Tuta Absoluta”  started from a Local Government (Galama) in Kano.

” When it was reported, we started our investigation and we found out that about 300 hectares in that local government alone were affected by this infestation,” he said.

He said that the ministry got to know that the farmers in Galama might have lost about N1.3 billion economically due to the infestation of the disease.

” We are working in collaboration with the Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) every time and investigating what is happening in other States.

” We have our records already and we are working on two things; the Ministry is convening a stakeholders’ meeting, which may be merged with what NABG is planning.

” The ministry is sourcing for funds seriously and interventions to solve critical problems of Tuta Absoluta,” he said.

Dr Mohammed Attanda, Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), he said agency conducted a Hausa radio phone-in program to create awareness on the mode of damage caused by the disease.

He urged the Ministry of Agriculture to incorporate NIHORT sustainable Uta integrated management package, for tomato production in the national tomato policy to stem the tide of occurrence of the disease.

In a remark, the Director – General, NABG, Dr Manzo Maigari, said that the disease occurred on epidemic level for the first time around 2016 and 2017.

He said that NABG in concert with other partners offered certain solutions.

“Today it is back, and we have to call on these major stakeholders to come together so that we can agree on the way forward,” he said.

The National Secretary, NAPTAN, Mr Sani Yadakwam, said that when Tuta Absoluta enters the farmer’s farm it destroys everything there within three days.

He said that the matter has been reported to the Ministry of Agriculture, NABG and other stakeholders on how to stop the spread of the disease “because we are afraid it might spread to other States.” he said. (NAN)

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