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Experts seek govt support for tomato farmers


GEMS4 TOMATOTOMATO farmers and experts across the country have called on the Federal Government to quickly come to the rescue of the sector to combat a killer disease ravaging the crop called Tuta Absoluta.

In an emergency town hall meeting held at Chimande Company in Kano to review the devastating effect of the pest, the convener, Mr. Richard Mark Mbaram, who is the Chief Executive Officer of AgroNigeria revealed that there was need for government assistance to 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 to produce.”

According to him, “Government needs to be told about the enormity of this problem. We are committed and dedicated in discussing issues on tomato production across the nation. Experts will tell us the kind of action we need to take to curb this menace.”

While cautioning government against neglect, Mbaram appealed that the tomato killer disease should be fought the same way Ebola was tackled.

“There is a dire need for government to come up with special subsidy for tomato farmers. Government should please respect Maputo Agreement, which Nigeria is a signatory. This advocates that 10 percent of the national budget should go to agriculture. In Nigeria it is only 2 percent or 1.5 percent that is allocated to agriculture,” he stated.

On pesticides used by farmers in the country, he advised the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to regulate all procurement of farm products.

Another expert, Hamza Mahuta of Syngenta Nigeria Limited also urged the government to aid the farmers to deal with the killer disease.

According to him, it took Sudan three years before they recovered from similar incident.

Some of the firms that participated at the town hall meeting were DANSA from Dangote Group of Companies, AgroNigeria, Syngenta, Chimande, Jubaili Agrotech, amongst others.

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