Tomato ‘Ebola’ ravaging farms in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe States
By Aliyu Dangida
More than 500 farmers in Kano state have lost over N1.5 billion due to the destruction of 300 hectares of tomato crops by pests.
Speaking on the plight of tomato farmers, the National Secretary, National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, Sani Danladi, said, “The huge losses by over 500 farmers in Kano is heartbreaking, while we are yet to know how many farmers are affected in Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna and Gombe States.
His words:-“This ‘war’ is not only for government and farmers but for all Nigerians, when Tuta Absoluta enters a farm, it destroys everything there within three days no matter how big or small it is.
“It is very devastating because it destroys all investment in the farm. Looking at the quantum of investing on one hectare of farmland to produce tomato, it costs not less than N1.7 million”.
Hotpen reports that, Tomatoes Farmers in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, and Gombe states are lamenting the loss of billions of Naira worth of investments.
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 Absoluta, 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.