Tomato Farmers in Kano State Count Losses of Over N2 Billion Due to Caterpillar Invasion


Tomato farmers in Kano State are grappling with significant losses exceeding N2 billion as caterpillar insects wreak havoc on their crops, exacerbating the already soaring food prices.

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Mukhtar Kura, Chairman of M.K. Kura Farms in Butalawa, Kura Local Government Area, Kano State, revealed the staggering extent of losses incurred by tomato farmers in a conversation with Vanguard. He lamented that farmers are facing immense hardship due to the sudden invasion of the insects.

According to Kura, the farmers experienced a similar ordeal in 2023, resulting in a loss of N1.5 billion within 24 hours in Bagwai and Dawakin Tofa Local Government Areas of Kano State. This time, the devastation has affected over 5,000 hectares of tomato and vegetable farms, representing two-thirds of the total dry-season farmlands.

“The tomato losses amount to N2 billion in this brief period,” Kura stated. He attributed the invasion to caterpillar insects identified as Sharoon, previously unseen by the farmers.

In response to the crisis, farmers have called on the state government to intervene urgently. The insects target both the leaves and fruit of the tomato plants, causing extensive damage.

“The AFAN chairman in Bagwai LGA appealed to federal, state, and local government authorities to aid the affected farmers in reviving their agricultural activities,” Kura emphasized. He also underscored the importance of agricultural extension workers studying the situation and implementing measures to mitigate losses.

Meanwhile, agricultural expert Engr Daniel Ijeh provided advice to farmers, recommending the application of a chemical called Emamectin Benzoate on tomato crops 15 days after planting. This chemical acts as a deterrent to the vectors, preventing them from settling and laying eggs that develop into caterpillars.

As tomato farmers grapple with mounting challenges, the broader implications of crop losses on food prices remain a concern, highlighting the urgency of addressing agricultural crises to ensure food security in Nigeria.

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Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
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