The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has announced that six Nigerian states are currently fighting the spread of “Tomato Ebola”, a disease spread by a moth known as Tuta absoluta.
The minister who made the revelation at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, May 24, said the disease was responsible for the destruction of many tomato fields, in Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and Lagos leading to a scarcity of the vegetable.
“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,” Ogbeh said.
“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.
“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,” the minister added.
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