Tomato Ebola Hits 6 States In Nigeria
The federal government has disclosed that a pest called Tuta absoluta, popularly known as Tomato Ebola, has hit six states in the country including Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and Lagos.
Tomato Ebola is the pest responsible for the massive destruction of tomato, pepper, Irish potatoes and other crops in farmlands.
The minister of agriculture and rural development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, made this disclosure on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 during a press briefing in Abuja.
He refuted reports that tomato processing factories had mopped-up tomato fruits in Nigeria, adding that the country spent about N80billion every year to import tomato paste, which were mostly substandard.
He said: “The pest can also attack even pepper and Irish potato. So, we are confronting something quite serious. But the good thing is that we are tackling it right now as experts will commence work immediately.
“We are bringing the commissioners and governors of states to jointly attack this pest, which, if not dealt with, will create serious problems for food security in our country.
“We have two processing plants for tomato paste in Nigeria, Erisco and Dangote, and their capacities are huge.
“We welcome their arrival because our annual import bill of tomato paste is about $400m and it is a good sign that we can now produce here and make money for our farmers.”
The minister further disclosed that they have invited experts into the situation who offered alternatives of some varieties of tomato that grow well in the western part of the country.