Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Why Tomato Is Scarce)

The scarcity of tomatoes and hike in its price nationwide had been of great concern to many
Nigerians this year.

The perishable vegetable, majorly cultivated during dry
season, had its price
astronomically go up due to many factors and in many states,
unavailable.

Consequently, stakeholders gave
reasons for the scarcity and the hike in price, as they made
suggestions on how to tackle the dearth of the nutrient-
packed food item, while government put more efforts to
tackle the problem.

The Kebbi chapter of All Farmers
Association (AFAN) attributed the
scarcity to the lack of improved variety of seedlings to grow the
commodity in commercial quantity.

The Secretary of the Association, Alhaji Muhammad Idris, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in
Birnin Kebbi that farmers in the state produced large
quantity of tomatoes but lacked modern methods of its
cultivation.

He said “there are modern varieties of tomato seedlings
which, if made available to farmers, it will improve yield.

“The seeds currently being planted by farmers had been
recycled in the past 20 years; tomato farming is easy but the problem is the lack of consultants to assist farmers on
better ways to grow and manage the commodity.

“Traders who come to Kebbi to buy tomatoes now go to
Kaduna, Zaria and Zuru to purchase the commodity, where
the yield is at least better than here.’’

On his part, the Chairman of the
state’s Association of Tomatoes Farmers, Alhaji Abubakar Gado,
said the tomatoes scarcity was the result of pest called “tuta absoluta” that destroyed many farms.

In Kaduna State, where the tomato pest destruction was
worst, farmers had solicited for
assistance from government to
minimise their losses.
Some of the farmers said the tuta absoluta pest could destroy
farms within hours, adding that they harvested nothing from their fields as a result of the outbreak of the pest and were
now living in penury.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State
Government had declared a state
of emergency on tomato to tackle the outbreak.

Dr Manzo Maigari, the Kaduna State Commissioner for
Agriculture and Forestry, told NAN that the state government had dispatched officials to Kenya, where an extarct from a plant was said to be effective in killing the pest.

Although there was a similar outbreak in the state on a
smaller scale last year, there was
however no documentation and
measures taken to tackle it.

The commissioner, however, said government would open up more tomato farms and
irrigation fields, equipped with
modern facilities to enhance all- year-round production in the 13 tomato producing local
government areas of the state.

But the AFAN Chairman in the
state, Malam Nuhu Aminu, said the Association had documented 700 tomato farms in seven local
government areas destroyed by the pest.

He said 500 other individual farmers with large tomoto farms were also affected by the
outbreak in Ikara, Makarfi, Kubau, Anchau, Kudan, Soba and Lere loca government areas and appealed to the state and the Federal government, as well as corporate bodies to interven by
assisting the affected farmers because of the magnitude of the
outbreak.

The AFAN chairman said that the disease had caused so much
devastation, especially among
women farmers who lived on tomato production for survival.

He said most of the farms were not covered by any kind of insurance which would have assisted the farmers to recover some of the losses.

In Kano State, farmers were also
asking the government for quick
intervention to overcome the disease, and support them to recover the losses.

Malam Surajo Ado, one of the farmers affected in Garun Malam Local Government, said
government should find solution to the disease and support
farmers to mitigate the effect of the devastation.

He explained that many researchers had visited some of the affected farms, and
expressed optimism that the research findings would trigger government action.

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1 thought on “Foodie Naija Update (Why Tomato Is Scarce)”

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