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Pest attack: Kano tomato farmers lose over N1.5bn

Over N1.5 billion worth of tomato plantations is said to have been destroyed by the recent attack of tuta absoluta, a tomato pesto that is…

Over N1.5 billion worth of tomato plantations is said to have been destroyed by the recent attack of tuta absoluta, a tomato pesto that is described as one of the most devastating insects affecting tomato crops.

Speaking to Daily Trust on the update of the pests attack, state chairman of the Tomato Out Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN), Alhaji Sani Danladi Yadakwari, revealed that the association has started a mini census of affected farms in the already mapped out attacked areas, adding that so far, over 300 hectares of tomato plantation has been affected.

He further explained that the attack is gradually spreading to more farms in other areas across the tomato-producing areas in the state.

The TOGAN state chair further revealed that it was estimated that farmers in the state have lost over N1.5 billion worth of tomato plantations to the pest attack.

NEPC trains tomato exporters on addressing technical barriers

Similarly, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has trained 100 tomato farmers and exporters on addressing technical barriers associated with the tomato value chain to make it ready and qualified in other countries.

The training took place at the National Incubation Centre in Kano and had farmers, processors, marketers and exporters of tomatoes in the state in attendance.

Speaking on the training, the regional coordinator of the NEPC in the Northwest region, Mr. Salam Ma’aruf Akinsola, said it is towards recouping the loss and risks associated with the tomato value chain and to ensuring that Nigerian exported tomatoes are not rejected in the global markets.

He said: “Most of our commodities are rejected and, as a government agency responsible for the promotion of non-oil exports, we cannot fold our hands and be looking like that.

“That is why we embarked on a series of sensitizations across the country, so that in the end, our product can be more competitive abroad.”

He said tomato, as one of the important commodities needed globally, has a chance of attracting markets abroad and that is why they come to Kano as the highest tomato production state in the country.

He added that recently, the United Kingdom reduced income tariff by 7.5% for some selected Nigerian products and that tomato was among, which gives exporters the chances to attract the market and gain profit.

Earlier in his presentation, the director extension of the Kano Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA), Gambo Isa Garko, said although about two million hectares of tomatoes are farmed in Nigeria every year, 45 per cent of the products is lost while processing and transporting to market.

He urged the farmers and exporters to adopt a system of farming and processing to compete globally in the markets.

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