By Temidayo Tiamiyu
Kaduna State government has declared a state of emergency on tomato after an attack of tomato blight that has wiped out about 80 per cent of tomato farms in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry in the state, Manzo Daniel, said this during a press briefing to mark the administration’s one year in office. He also said that about eight other states in the Northern region have been affected by the disease. It was reported that the cost of a basket of tomato has risen to about N42,000 in the state.
“The tomato blight is caused by an insect called the leaf miner, scientifically called ‘tuta absoluta.’ What it does is to eat up the tomato leaves and the soft parts. Unfortunately for us, this infestation occurred last year on a smaller scale but it was not documented. And when we came in, we didn’t know about it until it hit us hard,”
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Daniel said that the survey conducted shows that over 200 farmers have been identified in three local government areas of the state with loses to the tune of One billion naira. He also have been sent abroad to seek solution the problem adding that the Dangote Tomato factory in Kano has shut down due to lack of raw materials.
“A team of officials have been dispatched to Kenya to seek intervention. We have it on authority that there is an extract of a plant that is effective against the developing stages of the moth. Unfortunately, the adults are not susceptible to any chemical, if you spray them, within three hours, they develop resistance. It is a serious issue and we have had to declare a state of emergency on the commodity,” Daniel explained.