Tomatoes in Nigeria scarcity by Tuta Absoluta known as Tomato Ebola

Tomatoes are scarce and epensive in Nigeria now due to tuta absoluta and tomato ebola destroying them

Tuta Absoluta in Nigeria and Tomato Ebola.If you are in Nigeria right now and not currently experiencing the scarcity and extreme price hike in tomatoes,you are from another planet!Tomatoes have temporarily taken the place of fuel scarcity in Nigeria and an item that was once taken for granted and could be found at every nook and corner has suddenly become as deer as gold and diamond due to a terrible condition known as tomato ebola or tuta absoluta.

Nigerian tomatoes are tasty and juicy. But a large basket of toms is now costing an arm and a leg. From about $10.40 three months ago, that price has rocketed 400 percent to a staggering $40, according to local media.
Demand and supply of Tomato in Nigeria.
Tomato farms in the northwest and central regions have been ravaged, prompting the governor of Kaduna state in the north, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, to have reportedly declared a tomato state of emergency in the sector. El-Rufai is quoted as saying 80 percent of Kaduna's tomato production — and the state is deemed by the U.N. to be the tomato capital of Nigeria — has been hit by the disease.
That's because a pesky pest — a moth — has got to Nigeria's tomato crop. The insect goes by the name Tuta Absoluta, aka Tomato Leaf Miner, says Daniel Manzo Maigari, Kaduna state's commissioner for agriculture.
The moth attacks the leaves of the tomato plant, and larvae produced by the moth feed voraciously on the plants and cause a 100 percent loss in yield. No amount of spraying is said to kill the larvae.
Maigari said "You spray it, after about three hours, it comes back to life."
Some Nigerians are calling the pest that has ravaged the crop "Tomato Ebola."
Nigeria's federal agriculture minister, Audu Ogbeh, confirmed Wednesday that the pest has spread to at least six states and poses a threat to national food security.
tomato business in Nigeria has been hit by the disease killing tomatoes

Ogbeh warned that the moth can also attack pepper and potato plants.
"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." He added "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," he said and that everything was being done to address the phenomenon.
Tomato farmers in Nigeria.Meanwhile, Maigari, Kaduna state's agriculture commissioner, is quoted as saying that some 200 farmers have collectively lost more than $5m over the past month in his state.
Tomatoes are a central ingredient in many Nigerian dishes and very much part of the diet here, so the scarcity means many people simply can't afford toms.
In some eateries, where tomatoes were served routinely, they've vanished. A "suya" (kebab) spot in the capital Abuja is still selling tender grilled skewered meat, with sliced onions, shredded cabbage and spiced pepper powder as garnish. Gone are the gorgeous red, diced tomatoes that used to brighten the popular takeout meal.

The tomato crisis is a blow for President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been urging his compatriots to return to the soil and farm, to diversify Africa's largest, petroleum-heavy, economy. Nigeria is suffering because of the calamitous current market price for crude oil, its main export.
Nigeria is looking to Kenya to try to combat the tomato menace. Kaduna's government has dispatched agricultural specialists to Kenya to meet experts on the Tomato Leaf Miner, to learn how to tackle the pest. Maigari, the Kaduna state agriculture commissioner, told journalists, "We have sent some of our officials to Kenya to meet our partners. Kenya has a good advantage over us on this issue," he said. "We understand that they use a plant extract to take care of this problem. But we do not have that knowledge yet. We expect them to return very soon with short- and mid-term solutions."
Ogbeh, the federal agriculture minister, confirmed that the disease is relatively new to Nigeria, so expertise on how to curb its spread is limited.
Maigari said the problem was so "severe" that businessman Aliko Dangote, Nigeria's and Africa's wealthiest man, has had to suspend production at his recently-built tomato processing plant in northern Kano state because of a lack of tomatoes.
Also,Nigeria's Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, reports that the country has a new pesticide to fight the tomato pest Tuta absoluta, which is currently decimating Nigeria tomato cultivation.

Dr Onu, who revealed the new discovery at a press conference in Abuja Friday 27 May, said the new pesticide will solve the problem of tomato shortage being experienced by Nigerians.

The new pesticide is very effective against ‘tuta absoluta’ otherwise known as ‘Tomato Ebola’ and it will soon be released to the farmers, according to the minister, who did not give the name of the pesticide.

“…And very recently the nation woke up to hear a pest ravaged our tomato farms in many parts of the country. We as a nation recorded a lot of losses and as a result of that our factories were unable to get enough supply of tomatoes and had to shut down. Fortunately for us, a new pesticide has just been developed by the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria. It is very effective against the new tomato pest, by name Tuta absoluta,” Dr Onu said.

He commended the NARICT scientists for coming up with the new solution, saying the institute has saved the country billions of naira which would have been used to import pesticides from abroad.

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