Tomato farmers in Dantankari, Katsina State, say they have gotten a remedy for the dreaded tomato disease known as tuta absoluta, locally known as ‘tomato ebola’ that ravaged farms in the state and many others in the last two irrigation seasons.
Daily Trust had in June 2015 reported how tomato production in the country was severely hit by an outbreak of disease that left many farms devastated across the major producing states, Katsina inclusive.
Consequently, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, last year, announced the development of an unnamed new pesticide by the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, to fight the disease.
A tomato farmer in Dantankari, Malam Hamza Liman Gambo, said though they were yet to come across the new pesticide said to have been developed by NARICT, they have found a reliable solution that mitigated the damage done by tuta absoluta on tomato farms.
“With the discovery of Ampligo 150ZC last year, our major problem of tomato ‘ebola’ was now brought to the barest minimum. The rate at which tomato farmers lost millions of naira here two years ago is greatly reduced though the number of farmers in the area also dropped due to the fear of the disease and the low price experienced last year,’’ he said.
He added that before the development of Ampligo, farmers tried all sorts of pesticides but in vain. Even with the discovery of Ampligo in 2016, many of the irrigation farmers were skeptical about its efficiency until recently when every farmer was scouting for the pesticide due to its effective action on tuta absoluta.
Malam Nasiru Dantankari, who in 2015 lost about N2,000,000 after his three tomato farms were completely destroyed by the disease, said they now heaved a sigh of relief after finding a solution to the destructive disease.
“Unlike in the past when ‘ebola’ attacked and destroyed large tomato farms within two to five days, this year with adequate watering and application of Ampligo, the disease was degraded to the barest level, enabling farmers to harvest the produce with a high yield and a basket costing N3,000 in the farms,’’ he said.
He added that this year, only few farmers were seriously affected by the disease obviously for their lack of early assessment of the threat.
He further explained how the withdrawal of some farmers from tomato cultivation over the fear of pest attack, led to more than adequate water for irrigation this year.
Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, an irrigation farmer who is the main source of the Ampligo pesticide for farmers in Dantankari and Danja areas, told this reporter that he sourced the pesticide from Syngenta Nigeria Ltd in Kano.
“Dangote Tomato Company linked us with Syngenta Nigeria Ltd early last year and they promised to supply us with efficient solution for the tuta absoluta but because there was no adequate advertisement and market supply of the Ampligo solution, many tomato farmers are yet to discover it. But I am supplying the product to irrigation farmers in Dantankari, Dandume LGA and Danja LGA at the rate of N2,000 per can, which can be used twice on 20 litre spray in a farm,” he said.
Ampligo 150ZC is an insecticide for use on vegetables and other field crops with the composition of 100g/L – Chlorantraniliprole+ and 50g/L – Lambda Cyhalothrin. It is manufactured by Syngenta crop protection AG, Basle, Switzerland and distributed by Syngenta Nigeria Ltd.