Nigeria: Government moves to tackle devastating tuta absoluta affecting tomato growers

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) recently said it is desperately looking for funding to tackle the current outbreak of the deadly tomato disease, known as Tuta Absoluta, which had already ravaged over 300 hectares of farmland in Kano alone.

Other states affected by the outbreak include Katsina, Kaduna, and Gombe, with the possibility of further spread. Speaking at a media briefing organized by the Nigeria Agri-Business Group (NABG) in partnership with the Dutch-funded HortNigeria Programme, Director, Horticulture, FMARD, Dr. Deola Lordbanjou, estimated the cost of the Tuta Absoluta in Kano alone at about N1.3 billion.

He said amid the current fiscal challenges, the ministry was making efforts to leverage the Tomato Levy Fund in order to respond to the crisis. Lordbanjou also said the Ministry of Agriculture is currently in talks with the Federal Ministry of Finance to access the levy.

The FMARD director also berated tomato processors in the country for reneging in the backward integration initiative of the federal government. The loss of yields led to scarcity and an increase in the cost of tomatoes, a daily vegetable staple for most Nigerian families leading households to use less nutritious alternatives.

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