TOMATO SCARCITY: 6 STATES IN NIGERIA AFFECTED BY TOMATO PEST OUTBREAK – AGRIC MINISTER

The minister of agriculture and rural development has debunked the misconception that tomato processing factories had mopped-up tomato fruits, thereby resulting to extreme scarcity of tomatoes in the country at the moment. He described the rumour as ‘unfounded and untrue’.

Audu Ogbeh attributed the current scarcity to the outbreak of ‘Tuta absoluta’ – a pest identified to infect tomato plants from leafs up to stems, as invading tomato farms in Nigeria a few months ago. He made this assertion on Tuesday at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, during a media briefing.

He said “the pest is known world over as it originated from South America far back in 1912 and has ravaged tomato farms in so many countries of the world till date including Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa.”

“It entered Nigeria through Niger (as predicted at a meeting held in Ethiopia, 2013) into Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Nasarawa and spread to other tomato producing states in the North as well as Southern states of Lagos, Oyo and Ogun.”