John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State government has declared a state of emergency on tomato farming in the state, following the outbreak of a destructive pests.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Maigari Daniel Manzo, who disclosed this at a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, said 80 per cent of tomato farms have been ravaged by a pest which blights tomato, called Tuta Absoluta.
Manzo said over 200 tomato farmers in three Local Government Areas of the state were affected by the destructive pests, adding that the farmers had suffered loses worth one billion naira in the last one month.
The commissioner said, already some officials of the ministry agriculture were sent to Kenya to liaise with experts with a view to finding solution to the problem.
“I want to say that Governor Nasir El-Rufai has declared a state of emergency on tomato in the state. This is as a result of invasion of the crops by a pest named tomato blight botanically known as Tuta Aboluta.
“In the past one month 12 local government areas of the state who produce tomatoes have lost 80 per cent of their tomatoes harvest.
“In three local government areas about 200 famers have lost One billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the lose.
“It is so severe that even Dangote who has established a tomato processing plant in Kano, had to shut down production” the commissioner said.
He explained that the problem with the disease which is caused by a moth, “is that no amount of spraying will kill the adult. You spray it, after about three hours, it revives back to life. So, we have sent some of our officials to travel to Kenya and meet our partners. Kenya has a good advantage on this issue over us.
“We understand that they use a plant extract to take care of this problem. But we do not have that knowledge yet. We expect them to return very soon with a short and medium term solution”.
Manzo disclosed further that the state government will vaccinate 7 million livestock in the state to secure both man an animal from infections.
He noted that “about 63 per cent of all diseases that infect man are transmitted by animals. So vaccinating cats, sheep, goats and even poultry, is to protect man”.