Ebola’ strikes again; Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe badly hit by Tomato Ebola,’ known scientifically as Tuta Absoluta
After a seven-year respite, ‘Tomato Ebola’ struck the nation’s tomato farms again during the beginning of the dry season, compounding the woes of tomato farmers.
In 2016, the outbreak of ‘Tomato Ebola,’ known scientifically as Tuta Absolut, devastated tomato farms across the nation, causing farmers to incur significant losses.
Tuta Absoluta is a family species that is extremely destructive to tomato farms. They come in the thousands during the dry season, when they devastate farms, and no amount of insecticide can reduce their population. They attack the plant from beneath the leaves, where they perch, causing damage to the tomato and rendering it unfit for human consumption.
Farmers of the commodity in the states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, and Gombe are lamenting the loss of billions of Naira worth of investments.
More than 500 farmers in Kano alone have lost over N1.5 billion due to the destruction of 300 hectares of tomato crops by pests.
Sani Danladi, National Secretary of the National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, commented on the plight of tomato farmers, stating, “The massive losses suffered by over 500 farmers in Kano are heartbreaking, while we do not yet know how many farmers are affected in Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, and Gombe States.
“This ‘war’ affects all Nigerians, not just the government and farmers.
“When Tuta Absoluta infiltrates a farm, it destroys everything within three days, regardless of size.
“It is extremely devastating because it destroys all farm investments. An investment of at least N1.7 million is required to cultivate one hectare of land for tomato production.
“Farmers lose a significant amount of money each year whenever this disease manifests.”
“Now, 90 percent of the tomato crop in Kano has been wiped out by the Tuta Absoluta blight, which is distinct from caterpillars; this one is particularly devastating, as you cannot eat it because it is hazardous to human health.”
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