Dr Olagorite Adetula, Head,Vegetable Programme, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, on Sunday urged the Federal Government to quarantine vegetables seeds being imported.
Adetula made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
He said the action would help in detecting diseases and pest associated with the crops.
“We experience tomato disease because we have been importing seeds without quarantining them to ascertain its safety.
“Before seeds are imported, experts should be involved to ascertain whether it is safe to produce the crop locally.
On Tuta Absoluta, the director said the institute had developed tomato seeds which is “tolerant to the pest’’.
“We plan to plant the seeds at infected areas to assess their resistance to the disease.
“We sent our team to Osun and Kano state where we received information on the disease. They taught the farmers some control measures.
“Some of the measures include cultural control, where leaves of the plant are removed and burnt.
“If devastated, the whole plant should be uprooted and destroyed to avoid spread,” she said.
Adetula also said that using irradiated sterile males can reduce the reproductive circle of the pest.
“Farmers should plough and destroy all residues after harvesting and clean the equipment used; they should also practice crop rotation to avoid invasion of pests.’’
To grow tomato all year round, NIHORT said it had developed `Roma and UC82’ varieties that adapt to any environment.
“Roma grows well during dry season and UC82 does well during rainy season. So, farmers can grow tomato using the two varieties all year round;
“They can also use drip irrigation method of FADAMA during dry seasons as it does not waste water.’’ (NAN)