..As tomato farmers decries adulterated seeds , govt’s negligence
The Vice President of National Association of Agribusiness Group, Mr Emmanuel Ijewere has alerted farmers of the return of Tuta-absoluta, known as ‘Tomato Ebola’ return, following it infestation on tomato plants in 2015, causing farmers to count their losses.
Ijewere alerted the farmers of possibility of the desease return, at a one-day Tomato Price Stabilization Forum, held in conjunction with NABG, Kaduna state government and other relevant stakeholders.
But he said the with the help of research earlier conducted by Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research , NIHORT on how to combat tomato ebola, farmers can easily tackle it infestation by ” putting water and detergent in a plastic bowl , and placing a stone on it. Then been a rechargeable lamp on the bowl.” He said morphs and flies responsible for the deseases easily get attracted to light , and as a result of that, they fall into the bowl.
Igewere blamed the widespread of the epidemic caused by Tuta-absoluta on farmers ignorance on how to combat plant deseases, adding that ” the infestation van also be cured with extract collected from a been tree leaves, when sprayed on tomato plants.”
“Farmers don’t have to spend so much money on buying chemicals that are some times harmful on the Tomato Ebola issue . we are now improving on their level of education , and this year we are waiting for it, we have been practicing on how to effectively get rid of it for good,” he said.
Speaking to journalists in an interview session, the Vice President said NABG’s aim of organizing the one-day conference was to bring tomato farmers, offtakers, processors and other relevant stakeholders together in charting a way forward to stabilize the price of tomatoes coming from the farmers.
Meanwhile, the secretary of Kano State Tomato Farmers Association , Mustapha Adamu at the conference decries the level at which adulterated tomato seeds were imported and sold to farmers without verification.
Attributing crash in tomato business to adultrated seeds supplied by marketers and government’s failure to checkmate their activities, Adamu said the biggest challenge we are facing, is the problem of seed, they allow every marketer to come with variant of seeds without any testing or verification, and we have no choice than to buy those seed , which is not good when planted. This is the biggest challenge we are facing .”
Meanwhile, Kaduna state deputy governor who was at the event assured the the stakeholders present at the conference of the state’s maximum cooperation towards ensuring that Nigeria meet up with other countries in producing and exporting tomatoes for consumption.
But the deputy governor, who was represented by commissioner for agriculture and forestry, Professor Kabiru Matto, said ” if we don’t arrest the situation of tomato wastage and processing , it will be impossible to produce for consumption and exporting. Kaduna is the largest producer of tomatoes in Nigeria, and tomato business is one of the riskiest business to do, because of the challenges involved in it maintenance and how to get it to the offtakers.”