Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe said that most states in Nigeria had abandoned the agricultural sector with their governors doing nothing to revive the sector.
Ogbe, who stated this yesterday in Abuja during a press briefing on tomato fruits scarcity in Nigeria and the effort of the federal government to tackle the situation, explain that the saddest story today was that most states could not even boast of one tractor, adding that the federal government was ready to partner states to revive the sector.
He said that the misconception that tomato processing factories had mopped up tomato fruits in Nigeria was unfounded and untrue.
“Recently, a pest identified as tuta absolute, locally called tomato Ebola, a leaf miner/moth that bores into the fruits and stem causing enormous food loss, invaded tomato farms in Nigeria, infestation by tuta can ravage and wipe out tomato farms within 48 hours.” He said that the pest is known world over as it originated from South America far back in 1912, and had ravage tomato farms in so many countries of the world till date, including Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa.
According to Chief Ogbe, the diseases spread in 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.
He said the federal government became aware of the pest late 2015 and quickly directed the National Horticulture Research Institute, Ibadan, a mandate agency on tomato research and development, to move into action and proffer solution to the menace.
According to the minister, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is currently working with Agronet Nigeria Rep of Russell, UK, who are experts in Tuta absoluta containment, for solution in the country, a team he said was expected to deliver the containment packs within the shortest possible time.
“This will enable farmers resume production activities with desired yield to reverse the precarious situation at hand, the intervention programme will involve at the first phase containment packs for 50,000ha to be used among the tomato producing States, capacity development on the containment solution and surveillance/monitoring in all the 774 LGAs.”
He explained that the federal government would partner with states and the local government areas to ensure complete containment of the pest, and farmers would continue a sustainable production of fruits for local consumption and provide raw materials for processing.

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