The Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry in Kaduna state, Manzo Daniel today disclosed that the state government has declared a state of emergency on tomato following an attack of tomato blight that has wiped out about 80percent of tomato farms in the state. Manzo stated this while spealing at a press briefing to mark the administration’s one year in office.
“The tomato blight is caused by an insect called the leafminer, 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. 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. To underscore the seriousness of the infestation, the Dangote Tomato factory in Kano has shut down due to lack of raw materials,” he lamented.
Mazo said over 200 farmers have incured losses to the tune of N1 billion as a result of the disease. A basket of tomato now cost N42, 000.