The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday announced that the Nigerian government has invited experts to find solution to the “tuta absoluta” -a pest that is currently eating up tomatoes in Nigerian farms
The Minister revealed this while addressing a press conference in Abuja. He said that the pest, which has caused a scarcity of tomato within Nigeria, was first seen in South America in 1912 before it spread to Europe, then East and West Africa, saying that the pest had entered Nigeria from Niger Republic.
He also that the pest can also affect certain pepper and Irish potatoes.
He further said: “We have called in experts and we have studied the profile of what we have to do with the pest. Unfortunately, ordinary pesticides cannot deal with this ‘tuta absoluta’ because it has a way of multiplying so fast.
“It produces almost 250 offspring per cycle; we are in contact with a group which had dealt with this in other countries and they are offering us solutions.
“In the next few days we shall get to work on this and begin treatment. It is going to be quite expensive as it will cost about five naira per tomato plant.”
Ogbeh, however, said that the pest is still restricted to Katsina, Kano, Gombe, Jigawa and Plateau States for now.