The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr. Mohammed Attanda, has said that a permanent solution to Tuta absoluta, a tomato disease, is readily available in the institute. Tuta Absoluta, a moth family species is a destructive pest that is very devastating to tomatoes which caused a national disruption to the tomato value chain in the years 2015/2016. There has been a reoccurrence of the destructive pests this farming season, which has in no small measure, affected the prices of the crop.
Attanda, in an interview, said that when the disease happened years back, the institute came up with the Integrated Pest Management System (IPM), a total solution, which had to do with bio-pesticide environmental friendly organic chemicals to take care of pests. He said it is in two phases, that the biochemical organic pesticide takes care of the lava stage of the pest, while the tuta trap tray (TTT) was meant to mass trap and kill adult Tuta absoluta so that no more eggs would be laid. “That is what we call the IPM total package and ever since then, it has been available and accessible when you come to NIHORT and with the recent advent of this new one, we have reached out to most of the farmers in the five states where the things are happening and we are giving them the training.
He said the institute had successfully demonstrated and trained farmers on the use of the technologies in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Plateau states as well as engaged in enlightenment programmes through the mass media in affected states. “The only thing is that, you know the affordability of farmers to get this product, of course they would prefer it to be given to them at subsidised rate and we cannot sell below the cost price even though we use organic material for it.
“Basically that is what is lacking, I believe if farmers can have training on this and they have accessibility of it, I think that will take care of a lot of things. So, by and large, we have the local source solution to it, farmers’ awareness and their understanding of this solution is what they have not really embraced, and that is why they are using dis-infective chemical, which cannot solve the problem. He stressed the need for the Federal Government to incorporate NIHORT Tuta Integrated Pest Management packages into the National Tomato Policy programme, to prevent yearly occurrences.