April 23, 2024

Kano tomato farmers lose over N2bn to caterpillar invasion

Kano tomato farmers lose over N2bn to caterpillar invasion

…over 5,000 hectares affected

By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

As food prices remain unabated, tomato farmers in Kano State have lost over N2 billion to caterpillar insects’ invasion.

Speaking on the huge losses recorded by tomato farmers, the Chairman, M.K. Kura Farms, Butalawa, Kura Local Government Area, Kano State, Mukhtar Kura, disclosed in a chat with Vanguard that tomato farmers are reeling in pain over the unexpected invasion of the insects.

According to Kura, the farmers had similar experience in 2023 at the same time and made a loss of N1.5 billion, and the insects did the damage within 24 hours in two Local Government Areas of Kano State, which are Bagwai and Dawakin Tofa.

He said, “The number of hectares affected is estimated to be over 5,000 hectares of tomatoes and vegetables. Two-thirds of the total dry-season farmlands were affected.

“The tomato lost is valued at N2 billion within this short period. The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, in Bagwai LGA stated that the caterpillar insects identified as Sharoon, which they had never seen before, destroyed large farmland in 24 hours.

“The farmers had experienced similar invasion by the same insects at the same time in 2023, and they made a loss of N1.5 billion.”

According to him, the farmers have called on the state government to assist them in arresting the situation. The insects attack and destroy the leaves and fruit of the tomato. 

“On recent efforts by the farmers to reach out to the government, the chairman of AFAN at the Local Government Area appealed to the federal, state, and local government authorities to assist the victims to revive their agriculture stock. Some farmers, however, emphasized the need for agricultural extension workers to study the trend and take urgent steps to minimize their losses,” he said.

Meanwhile, an agric expert, Engr Daniel Ijeh, while speaking to Vanguard, advised farmers to spray a chemical called Emamectin Benzoate on the tomato after 15 days of planting, which prevents the vector from perching and laying eggs to form the caterpillars.