Nigerian authorities confirm outbreak of tomato ebola
By Mohammad Ibrahim
(Kaduna) There was growing concerned in Nigeria as the government confirmed an outbreak of Tomato blight which was also nicked name tomato Ebola in six states of the federation.
The insect wiped out about 80 percent of tomato farms in the affected states. The hit states are Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and Lagos.The insect known as the leafminer is Scientifically called tuta absoluta and what it does is to eat up the tomato leaves and the soft parts.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh,while briefing newsmen in Abuja said the pest was responsible for the massive destruction of tomato in farmlands in these states.
The Minister added that highly reproductive nature of the tomato pest coupled with favourable environment and lack of management knowledge for containment had resulted in its spread without resistance, leading to the destruction of tomato fruits in those six states.
Mr Ogbeh said the federal government had started consulting with states and experts to seeks measures to tackle the pest.“The pest can also attack even pepper and Irish potato. So we are confronting something quite serious. But the good thing is that we are tackling it right now as experts will commence work immediately.
" We are bringing the commissioners and governors of states to jointly attack this pest, which if not dealt with, will create serious problems for food security in our country," he said.
Authorities in one of the affected states, Kaduna State has already declared a state of emergency on tomato following the outbreak of the tomato blight that has wiped out about 80percent of tomato farms in the state.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry in the state, Dr. Manzo Daniel disclosed to newsmen in the state.Oslo Times learnt that the cost of tomato basket has skyrocketed in the markets as a tomato basket now cost 35,000 to 42,000 naira Nigerian currency equivalent to (250 USD).