Tomato scarcity looms as pest infests big Kano farms

 Tomato scarcity looms as pest infests big Kano farms

‘Dotun Rotimi

Tomato scarcity looms in Kano State as big tomato farms have been hit again by the deadly tuta absoluta pest.

The pest infested tomato farms at Bagwai, Shanono, Kura, Garin Malam, Bebeji, Bunkure, Rano, Kibiya, part of Tudun Wada and Dawakin Kudu local government areas of the state, where the product is reportedly farmed in large quantities.

Kano State chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Abdullahi Maibreadi, in an interview with this newspaper, lamented the recurring infestation of tuta absoluta.

He said for almost 12 years, it had become a concern to many farmers, a development, he said, had made the farmers think of quitting.

Maibreadi said AFAN’s findings from across the localities shows that 4,621 hectares of tomato farms worth N1bn is currently affected by the disease, emphasising that if nothing is done to salvage the situation in the next one to two weeks, farmers would incur loss of about N10 billion to N20 billion in Kano.

“This disease, tuta absoluta otherwise called ‘Sharon’ in Hausa, kept on recurring for the past 12 years despite farmers’ effort to see that they overcome it. It has affected and burned many farms. When the disease drops on the tomato leaf, it becomes burned and when it torches the fruit, it becomes burned, rot and becomes waste.

“Unfortunately, it was after most of the farmers had finished spending and it started fruiting and close to harvesting, then the outbreak of the disease,” he pointed out.

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Maibreadi called on both the state and federal governments to intervene by providing farmers with certified and climate-resistant seeds, as well as standard insecticide instead of using adulterated ones that cause them losses.

He also urged the government to extend the gesture to Okro farmers who were affected by similar outbreak in the last farming season in the state.

“We as farmers don’t have the power to get those farm inputs but since the government has collaboration with international companies, they can buy and resell or subsidize it for farmers to avoid this kind of huge loss which further affects the economy of the country,” he added.

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