Tomato Price Skyrockets As Tatula Disease Ravage Farms
WORRIED by the level of neglect on the part of the federal government, a group of experts in collaboration with tomato farmers across the country called on the government to quickly come to the rescue of the sector, as the tomato killer disease called Tuta Absoluta has been ravaging tomato production in the country.
In an emergency town hall meeting held at Chimande company, in Kano to review the devastating effect of the tomato killer disease, the convener of the meeting Mr. Richard Mark Mbaram, Chief Executive Officer of AgroNigeria revealed that there was a need to have coordinated and concerted effort from the part of the government to come to the aid of tomato farmers in the country.
Mbaram warned that, “Nigerian tomato is under siege. We are facing a ruthless disease that sweeps away tomato in our farms. It is very devastating, especially in a country where we have industries that depend on tomato. “
He further solicited that government, which appears unaware of the disease, should address the problem emphatically, stressing that there was a need for a bailout from government to help tomato farmers.
While cautioning government against playing ostrich, Mbaram appealed that the tomato killer disease should be fought the same way Ebola was fought by government.
“There is a dire need for government to come up with special subsidy for tomato farmers. Nigeria should please respect Maputo Agreement, of which Nigeria is a signatory, which advocates that 10 per cent of any national budget should go to agriculture. In Nigeria and in actual and practical term, it is only two per cent or 1.5 per cent that is given to agriculture, “ he lamented.
On the application of pesticides by farmers in the country, he insisted that Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) should rise to regulate all procurement of farm products.