Today, tomatoes are seen as scarce commodity in Nigeria due to a massive pest attack on tomatoes farms across the country.
Several farmers have lost their produce due to the attack.
Bello Sani, a tomato farmer in Zaria, told PREMIUM TIMES that he lost almost everything he planted this year.
“I used to harvest more than two thousand baskets of tomatoes every year from my farms, but this year I only was able to harvest 300 baskets of tomatoes. All the other remaining were lost to the pest attack,” Mr. Sani said
“I have to start again even though the raining season have started.”
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES in Zaria, the Director of Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, said many of the affected farmers were reluctant to use appropriate pest control pesticides on their farms.
“Actually we got a field report about a disease of tomatoes from four local governments in Kaduna State: Ikara, Sabon-Gari, Soba and Giwa local governments. We sent our scientist there.”
“We also had report from Kano and later from Zamfara State. We sent our scientist to the field to go and assist the situation. Unfortunately, the farmers were devastated in some cases.”
“Most farmers in the Northwest use adulterated or expired pesticides.
“As an institute, we provided solutions to farmers in the North West region this season and we are working on the pest control measures, method and dosage of the spray,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The professor provided tips on how farmers can save their farms from such attacks.
1. Farmers should ensure they apply pesticides on their tomato farms late in the evening always.
2. Farmers should apply the correct dosage of pesticide on their farms.
3. Farmers should attend trainings on how to apply pesticides and not to assume knowledge as training are given to them every farming season.
4. Farmers should engage in crop rotation because consistent single crop farming perpetrates the pest problem.
5. Farmers should enhance their hygiene. All residue of the crop should be packed and burnt at the end of every farming the season.