UI Experts Suggest Solution To Current Tomato Disease

University Of Ibadan UI
University Of Ibadan UI

Agricultural experts at the University of
Ibadan (UI)
has proffered solutions to the outbreak of
Tomato disease, identified as Tuta Absoluta,
in Nigeria.
A geneticist at the university, Dr. Morufat
Balogun, said that importing seeds to cushion
the problem is not the best option as it would
further drain the
nation’s foreign exchange.
She said the Federal Government should
direct plant breeders / entomologists to
develop new tomato varieties that could
adapt to the Nigerian environment.
“Tomato is a short duration crop that breeds
fast;
when an insect smells something in the plant
that puts it away, it can’t feed on it.
“If the gene from such hormones is put in
tomato,
the pest will not feed on it. That will be a
lasting
solution. “A cushioning solution will be when
farmers grow
their tomato in an insect screen environment,
the
insects can’t attack it. “Tomato can be
produced anytime of the year. So,
government should build screen houses for
farmers,” Balogun said. Another expert, Dr
Biodun Claudius-Cole, a Plant
Pathologist at the university, said
management of
the disease should be done using
combination of
biosecticide method, resistant crops, among
others. “Farmers need to practice good
agricultural
methods; they must have good land
preparation as
that manages soil burn, which is one of the
problems of tomato. “They should also be
encouraged with inputs and
facilities that will help them produce tomato
all year
round.” She said the government should
ensure that crops
like tomatoes coming to Nigeria were
quarantined
before allowed into the country. Claudius-
Cole said the government should also put
necessary measures to control the disease in
affected states to stop it from spreading to
other
places. An entomologist from the same
University, Dr.
Olajumoke Alabi, said farmers should use
insecticide in a systemic way, if they should
use it
at all. “We can use bio-control agents like
nematode,
augmentation to suppress the pest
population, we
can also use cultural control, whereby
farmers
uproot and destroy infected crops.” (NAN)

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