Worried by the ravaging effect of
tutsa pest popularly referred to as tomato
ebola on production which led to massive
loss of the crops and created scarcity of
the product, with adversely effect on
the country’s economy in 2015, a team
of Nigerian scientists from the National
Horticultural Research Institute, NIHORT,
Ibadan Oyo State, have invented a
technology that will reduce the plague to
the barest minimum.
Leader of the team, Dr. Abiola Oke who
was tracked by journalists from Kaduna
on the team’s sustainable management of
tutsa on tomatoes to the state, explained
that the technology has proved to be
effective in handling the challenge.
Other members of the team are
Oladigbolu Abiola and Habu Saleh (senior
scientists) and Bello Idowu.
She explained that they were on ground
to sensitise the farmers on methods they
could use in overcoming the challenge
which led to loss of billions of Naira
in investment of tomato farmers in the
country in 2015.
Dr. Oke who is an entomologist/
researcher, said she was happy that the
technology which was developed after
careful research has, been able to tackle the
challenges for which it was conceptualised.
She said that all they did was to study
the pest tutsa and found that it is a pest
that is active and night and is also attracted
to light, hence, the development of the
technology which is the use of a tray and
rechargeable lamp.
“The technology is a use of tray tray and
rechargeable lamps. The tray is filled with
water, sprinkled with a little detergent and
a stone in placed inside, after which the
battery powered or rechargeable lamp is
placed on the stone.
“One of the tutsa which lays the eggs
that damage the tomatoes come to the
light, they fall into the tray and are trapped,
hence drown and die in the water,” she
said.
When asked if the technology would be
affordable to farmers who are mostly in
the rural areas, she said that each set up
costs less than N1,000, which is used for
purchasing the major tools; a plastic tray
and a lamp, adding that the research and
the tools for the set up of the technology
and the funding is being sponsored by the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
On how the scientists aim to reach out
to all the farmers in the tomato area, she
said their team on a first phase would be
touring tomato producing states in some
states, where they would donate trays,
lamps and detergents to the farmers.
“As a sustainable scheme, we would
organize meetings and workshops for
leaders of farmers groups within the
catchment areas from where there would
be a multiplying effect as they go back and
train others,” she assured.
When questioned by the newsmen, a
farmer in one of the locations visited in
Samaru-Zaria, Kaduna State, Malam Isa
Ibrahim praised the team for inventing
the technology that will put an end to the
tutsa which is causing nightmare to tomato
farmers.
He said that with the development,
they would reach out to other colleague
and give them the good news that there is
a cheaper and more efficient way to deal
with the pest that has been threatening
their source of livelihood.
“Now we have seen the effect of this
technology. It is far cheaper and more
effective than the pesticides we have been
using,” he added.
The technology which was introduced
to the farmers on Saturday evening was
evaluated on Sunday with encouraging
results.


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