The Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr ManzoMaigari , has announced that Government has also dispatched officials to seek intervention from Kenya, where there is said to be an extract from a plant that kills the insects (Tuta Absoluta) which has wreaked havoc on tomatoes farms cut across the northern region of the country, during an interactive session with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Kaduna.
The State Government had declared state of emergency on tomatoes, following outbreak of blight that affected over 200 farms in the State which is causing untold scarcity and high cost not only in the state but cut across the country.
Maigari narrated that more than 200 tomato farms had been affected in three local government areas, with an estimated loss of N1 billion, adding that eight other states in the north had been affected by blight caused by insect that destroys the plant within three hours.
The Commissioner noted that the infection had caused a dramatic rise in the price of tomato to about N42,000 per basket, emphasizing that the state government dispatched officials of the ministry to seek intervention from Kenya, where there is said to be an extract from a plant that kills the insects.
Maigari who agreed that there was a similar outbreak in the state on a smaller scale last year but that there was no concrete measures taken to tackle it, noted that there was no documentation on it, so when they came to power, they did not know about it – the reason why it has hit the State hard.
The State Commissioner who said it is a serious issue that the state is dealing with and other affected states in the region, noted that the Dangote Tomato paste factory had temporarily closed down production following the outbreak of the blight causing loss of thousands of jobs.