Kaduna state on Tuesday declared a state of emergency after moths destroyed swathes of tomato fields, which has threatened supplies and driven prices up.
Nigerian farmers describe the outbreak as ‘tomato Ebola’ after the deadly disease that devastated West Africa in 2014.
“We have declared a state of emergency over the outbreak of a moth that has destroyed over 80 percent of tomato farms in the state,” Kaduna state agriculture commissioner Manzo Daniel told AFP.
“This is only the beginning of a disaster if we don’t take drastic measures because the disease is fast spreading across the north,” he warned.
More than 200 tomato farmers in the region have already suffered losses of more than one billion naira from the disease, he said.
Experts have, therefore, been sent to Kenya to develop a strategy to combat the brown moth, which lays eggs on tomato plants and develops into a hungry caterpillar that feeds on the leaves, stems and fruit.