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FG Invites Experts to Tackle Tomato Pest “tuta absoluta”



TomatoesThe Federal Government has engaged experts to find solution to the spread of “tuta absoluta,” a pest currently ravaging tomato farms in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ogbeh said that the pest (tuta absoluta) was discovered in South America in 1912 where it ravaged many farms before it spread to Europe and then to Asia and now to East and West Africa.

He said the pest came into Nigeria from Niger Republic, saying that it is a very powerful infestation that could make it impossible for the country to grow tomatoes if not dealt with.

Ogbeh said the price of tomatoes had gone so high that a basket now sells for between N35, 000 to N42, 000 in Lagos.

He said that many housewives could not afford to buy the soup ingredient any longer.

“We have called in experts and we have studied the profile of what we have to do with the pest. Unfortunately, ordinary pesticides cannot deal with this ‘tuta absoluta’ because it has a way of multiplying so fast. It produces almost 250 offspring per cycle; we are in contact with a group which had dealt with this in other countries and they are offering us solutions.

In the next few days we shall get to work on this and begin treatment. It is going to be quite expensive as it will cost about five naira per tomato plant,” he said.

The minister said the pest had not spread across the country as it is still restricted to Katsina, Kano, Gombe, Jigawa and Plateau States for now.

Ogbeh said the treatment would have to be at the level of the nursery before planting so that the tomatoes can resist the disease.

The minister explained that the pest could also attack pepper and Irish potatoes, stressing that the country was combating a very serious disease.

He said the experts had also offered a variety of tomato, which guarantees high yields under high rainfall, pointing out that the variety had been tested in some parts of the South-West.

He assured Nigerians that the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Governments were doing everything possible to stem the spread of the pest.

On fertiliser, the minister said the government had designed a system that would ensure appropriate fertiliser for each state in the country given the difference in geographical location.

Ogbeh said subsidy in the fertiliser sector had not been removed, saying that government was being cautious so that the system is not high jacked by the middle men.

“We have not yet removed subsidy, as you know subsidies can be very badly managed; the scandals in the petrol sector are a huge proof. If you transfer it to agriculture, then you have a bigger disaster; we are looking at 15 million farmers.

So if you spread subsidy to them, a day will come where you will be shocked on how middle men and other people are taking advantage of the subsidies to short-change the country. We may use other methods to support farmers,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Sola

    May 24, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Dooney’s Kitchen Tomatoeless Stew to the rescue. These people won’t come and kee me. Hubby and I sat down with my rice and stew over the weekend and I was quiet for like 5 minutes. It was so delicious. Who tomatoes epp

  2. Togun

    May 24, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Move over jollof rice, Fried rice to the rescue at parties and events

  3. Bimbo

    May 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I simply use tomato paste like derica or gino to replace fresh tomatoes and my stew still turns out very nice.

  4. Marlvina

    May 24, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Of all reasons to invite experts into the country!! We haven’t thought of using experts to tackle issues of kidnapping or the Niger Delta Avengers, its TOMATOES!! Odiegwu!!

  5. Jamila

    May 25, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Audu Ogbeh, if you like, don’t humble yourself and contact Adesina the former minister and ask for tips, there was an outbreak in his time and it was well handled.

  6. Private enterprise

    May 25, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Are the farmers so inept, or is there no research behind agriculture in Nigeria. Why do farmers and other stakeholders in the industry wait for the Federal Government to bring in “experts”?

  7. Sika

    May 25, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Audu ogbeh we are not fooled! By experts you mean Monsanto and DuPont! You want to carry on With this gmo madness abi? They have paid you!! God punish your generation unborn! Anu ofia!

  8. Fleur

    May 25, 2016 at 3:55 am

    So how did this pest get to Nigeria and cause so much devastation in a short period of time? make una shine una eyes oh.

    Where does tomato leaf miner occur mostly?

    Tomato and potato are among the most widely cultivated vegetables in Europe as well as worldwide. Production of several of these crops is threatened by infestation of the invasive tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta. The pest is originating from South America and is now invading field and greenhouse production sites in Europe. Since 2006, the tomato leaf miner has rapidly spread across southern Europe and the Mediterranean area, including Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Northern Africa. The insect has also been found in commercial greenhouses in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and several other countries.

  9. Oversabi

    May 25, 2016 at 4:20 am

    Nigerians, beware of where you buy seedlings and be careful about people introducing new pests so that they can sell their expertise. Not saying anything but I wan ask how this new disease take appear suddenly at this rate. This na agrotrade war to destabilize tomato market so that Nigeria no go compete with farmers in established producer countries? Just wearing my conspiracy hat today.

    In fact, the Managing Director, Russell IPM, Dr Shakir Al-Zaidi, said arbitrary application of synthetic pesticide had proven to exacerbate the problem by causing early resistance development. Rusell IPM is a company that provides customer focused solutions to the issues facing pest controllers.
    More frustrating to efforts to control the pest is the fact that it can breed between 10 to12 generations a year, with each female having the capacity to lay 250 to 300 eggs in her life time, Tajudeen said.


    May 25, 2016 at 8:58 am

    na wa ooooo, pls do it fast but in the main time, Gino ti take over, Iyalaya Hausa tomato

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