Located in semi-arid Eastern Kenya, Machakos county is home to the Umatui amazing site women group. The group comprises 15 members who mainly grow tomatoes, cowpeas, pigeon peas, and maize. It is among eight other women groups working with Katoloni Community Based Organisation (CBO), a non governmental organization under infonet biovision. The CBO runs a mobile Plant Clinic in Machakos county, Kenya and mostly targets organized farmer groups.
The tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta, is a devastating pest of tomato. Originating from Latin America, T. absoluta has spread via infested fruits and packaging material to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Given its potential for crop destruction and rapid reproduction, it quickly became a key pest of concern in East Africa. Its primary host is tomato, but it also affects potato, aubergine, beans and others. Continue reading →
Al Jazeera correspondent Gelareh Darabi recently travelled to Nepal for the broadcaster’s Earthrise programme, to see how plant clinics in Pokhara are helping farmers deal with crop pests such as tuta absoluta.
Invasive species cause widespread devastation and huge economic losses to smallholder farmers across the world, especially in sub-Saharan in Africa. Invasive species not only directly undermine farmer’s ability to achieve food security, they also affect smallholder agribusiness making farmers unable to link to profitable food value chains and international agricultural trade networks.
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include a new insect pest, Cyrtozemia dispar, on peanut in India, the presence of the entomopathogenic fungus Pandora neoaphidis in Argentina and the first record of Tuta absoluta in Tanzania.
Effective surveillance and integrated pest management could curb the devastating impacts of tomato pest, Tuta absoluta, also called tomato leaf miner, which is ravaging the crop in Nigeria, experts say.
T. absoluta has affected most parts of northern Nigeria tomato farms in Kaduna state, causing a loss of more than 1 billion naira (about US$3.5 million), leading to rising tomato prices, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) — an organisation working with African governments and research institutions to monitor the spread of the pest.
In recent years, Tuta absoluta has gained a reputation for being one of the most destructive pests of tomato and can cause losses of 80-100% in the field if left unmanaged. Tanzania are feeling the effects of the yield reduction with a 375% increase in the cost of tomatoes in the past 6 months. A carton of tomatoes that cost Sh16,000 ($9.4) in January 2015 now costs around Sh60,000 ($35.3). Vivian Munisi, a trader at Tanzania’s Arusha central market, is just one of the people who are expecting the price of tomatoes to increase further in the coming months as a result of the shortfall caused by T. absoluta.
The larvae of T. absoluta, which is also known as the tomato leaf miner, bores into leaves and fruit and feeds below their surface, forming mines as they move along the plant. The network of mines produced as a result of this feeding can also serve as an entry point for disease, which can lead to further damage. Although tomato is the main host for the tomato leaf miner, it can also affect potato and other Solanaceae plants. The pest originated in Latin America but has spread to Europe, Asia and more recently, Africa where it has caught smallholder farmers unprepared.
There are a number of management options that will help to reduce the damage caused by the tomato leaf miner. These include disposing of infested fruit, setting pheromone traps and applying sprays of either biocontrol or a chemical pesticide. To find out more about tomato leaf miners and how these sprays can contribute to their control, read this month’s Plantwise Factsheet for Farmers which was written by an Agriculture Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFSC) in Tanzania. Tomato production in Tanzania has been badly affected by the tomato leaf miner. Continue reading →