Tomato disease outbreak: Institute appeals for research funding

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Ibadan – National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, has appealed for funding to carry out research and create awareness on the tuta absolute pest on tomatoes.

The Institute’s Head Vegetable Programme, Dr Olagorite Adetula, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Friday that there was an urgent need to tackle the problem to save the economy.

Adetula said the institute needed money to do surveillance survey of the pest/damage, ascertain the impact of the damage and proffer solution for eradicating the pest.

She appealed to the Federal Government to help the institute get pheromones to lure and trap the pests and distribute to farmers.

“Spraying insecticides is not the best, the pest has production rate, some of them can escape while spraying it and they will be resistant to the insecticide thereby causing us more cost.

“The pheromones can be used for six to eight weeks before changing it, it is very effective, the pest has short life cycle, within 40 days it is dead, so we need to take advantage of the cycle.

“Also, using entomopathogenic nematode is very effective because it can destroy the tuta larvae, using nematode can bring 80 to 90 per cent eradication of the pest but we need money to achieve that,” she said.

She said that farmers could use cultural control approach on the pest.

“If it is at early stage the farmer can remove the leaves, burn them and clean everything in use, if it has destroyed the whole plant, farmers can uproot it totally and destroy it to avoid spreading.

“They can also use trap method whereby they put water in a tray, put discharge lamp with light close to the water, 30cm above the soil to attract the pests and kill them,” she said.

Adetula further said that the institute was working on special tomato seedlings in the nursery which would be tolerant to the pest.

“We plan to take seedlings to infected areas and plant them there to assess if there will be damage or not; if it is well tackled, the pest will be destroyed,“ she said.

She said that the institute usually sent to Kano, states, among others, to teach farmers some of the cultural control against the pest.

“We also urge the Federal Government to always contact us for advice for any importation of vegetables, fruits, other ornaments to improve production, storage and marketing of the crops,” she said. (NAN)