Over 500 farmers lost a 300-hectare field worth N1.5 billion to the tomato Ebola known as “Tuta Absoluta,” which is devouring farmland across sections of the country. As a result, Nigeria is expected to experience a tomato shortage. The most afflicted states are mostly Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina.
Emmanuel Ijewere, the president of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), claimed that all stakeholders had proclaimed a complete “war” on the encroaching insects. According to Ijewere, the Tuta Absoluta is an insect that makes its home beneath tomato leaves. He claimed that increased bug migration around the field is also a result of climate change.
According to Dr. Deola Lordbanjoce, Director of Horticulture at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country’s deficit will increase from 1.3 million metric tons to three million metric tons as a result of the tomato disease.
He said the ministry is working with the National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria every time and investigating what is happening in other states, and “we have our records already and we are working on two things; the Ministry is convening a stakeholders’ meeting, which may be merged with what NABG is planning’’.
Also, the Secretary-General, National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sani Danladi, lamented the huge losses over 500 farmers have incurred in Kano, while they are yet to know how many farmers are being affected in Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna and Gombe states.