The Agriculture Director of the Yilo Krobo Municipality, Mr. Daniel Oduro, is allaying fears of farmers over a possible invasion of the tomato leaf miner in the municipality. The agric director said farmers should not panic about the disease which is invading various farms in the country.
“No invasion has been recorded yet, but we’re nevertheless educating farmers on the possible outbreak and characteristics of the insects as well as ways to combat it,” he said.
There are currently fears over the spread of the insects to other parts of the country following its onslaught in some parts of the country.
Scientists are warning of the invasion of the pest known as tomato leaf miner which is destroying several tomato farms in the country.
The pests are reportedly devastating farms in the Eastern, Western, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions.
Farmers, since 2015, are said to have been using insecticides to control the pest which has not been sustainable.
According the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Tomato Leafminer also known as ‘Tuta absoluta’, is native to South America.
The pest has established in parts of Southern Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean countries. It is devastating pest on tomato with the caterpillar being the damaging stage of the pest.
The pest feeds mainly on tomato plant but is reported to feed on 22 other crops belonging to the tomato family.
Life cycle from egg to adult range from 46-61 days and can undergo up to 10-12 generations in a year with overlapping generations.
The adult female can lay 250 to 300 eggs in life time. The larvae feed on leaves producing large irregular mines on leaf surface.
They also burrow into the fruits and their feeding activities both in the leaves and fruits cause significant damage to tomato production.
Losses can be up to 100 per cent in green houses and open fields. Every stage of the plant is prone to the pest’s attack and parts affected are the buds, leaves, stem, flowers and fruits.
Agric experts are advocating the use of integrated pest management which involves use of all available technologies in pest control, to salvage the situation.
Deputy Director and head of Pesticide Environmental Protection Agency, Joseph Edmund warned farmers to desist from buying chemicals from broken containers.
He said it is an illegality to mix chemicals not indicated as such, a practice which amounts to adulteration.
For this reason, he says the EPA is coming out with a minimum literacy requirement for chemical retailers.