‘75% of Nigeria’s tomato farmers face financial crisis’
The present financial constraint faced by Nigerian tomato farmers has been attributed to Tuta absoluta pest that has ravaged thousands of hectares of tomato farms during last year’s dry season, leaving the farmers with unsettled debts especially in the northern part of the country.
This was disclosed by the Bauchi State chairman of Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria ( TOGAN) Ahmed Barau during a one day regional workshop on sustainable and bio-rational solutions for Tuta absoluta, jointly organized by a United Kingdom based Rusell IPM and Agronet Nigeria Limited for tomato growers, processors and marketers.
According to him, tomato farmers had been subjected to a lot of hardship due to the damage.
“Farmers are in need of assistance now or they will be eliminated from the sector for life. This Tuta absoluta has in- deed dealt a big blow to tomato farmers in the affected areas. Most of these farmers are broke now and can’t go back to farm this coming season,” narrated Barau.
Earlier, Kano state commissioner of Agriculture Nasiru Gawuna, represented by the Managing Director of Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA) Professor Mahmud Daneji, said tomato farmers in the state lost about N1.5 billion to the pest, adding that about 1450 hectares of tomato was affected in the 30 affected local government areas in the state. He added that, the state government had set up a committee comprising every stakeholder and a report will be submitted to the governor soon.
Similarly, in his address the Managing Director, Dangote Tomato Company, Abdulkareem Kaita stated that, if the issue of Tuta was not handled effectively, it would cripple federal government’s attempt to revive agriculture.