Kaduna State Govt. seeks Kenya’s intervention on tomato blight


 The Kaduna State Government on Monday declared state of emergency on tomatoes, following outbreak of blight that affected over 200 farms in the State.
The State Government has also dispatched officials to seek intervention from Kenya, where there is said to be an extract from a plant that kills the insects.
Dr Manzo Maigari, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, announced this during an interactive session with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Kaduna.
Maigari said more than 200 tomato farms had been affected in three local government areas, with an estimated loss of N1 billion.
The commissioner said eight other states in the north had been affected by blight caused by insect that destroys the plant within three hours.
He said it caused the dramatic rise in the price of tomato to about N42,000 per basket.
According to him, the state government dispatched officials of the ministry to seek intervention from Kenya, where there is said to be an extract from a plant that kills the insects.
Maigari said there was a similar outbreak in the state on a smaller scale last year but that there was no concrete measures taken to tackle it.
``There was no documentation on it and when we came in we did not know about it, the reason why it has hit us hard.
``It is a serious issue we are dealing with in the state and other states affected in the region.’’
Maigari said the Dangote Tomato paste factory had temporarily closed down production following the outbreak of the blight causing loss of thousands of jobs.
He, however, said that the government had taken other measures to address the issue. 

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