Some sources claim that the recurrence of Tuta absoluta, popularly known as ‘Tomato Ebola’, has exposed the inability of the Nigerian government to tackle underrated threats facing the country’s food security. Nigeria had an opportunity of quelling the recurrence of Tomato Ebola eight years ago, after it suffered from the devastating invasion of the Tuta absoluta pests.
However, the government has instead allowed it to recur year after year, leading to the current ravages in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Gombe states, with an estimated N1.3 billion loss, according to the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT). The situation in tomato-producing states has led to a 363 percent increase in the price of fresh tomatoes in Lagos markets in four months.
Sani Danladi, secretary-general of the National Tomato Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria, said tomato farmlands in Kano have recorded about 80 percent loss owing to Tuta absoluta. Danladi said the country has failed to tackle the recurring pest infestation that has led to losses for farmers already contending several issues.