For the first time in the current Tuta absoluta crises, a local farm has reported tomato growth that is free of damage from the pest.
The Jos region of Nigeria has been a heavily infested zone for tomato growers and as with the rest of the country, Tuta absoluta has resulted in farmers loosing over half of their anticipated tomato harvest.
Russell IPM, a UK-based manufacturer of pest management products has been working to support local growers during the Tuta absoluta crisis. The company has worked closely with Tenti Farms, in Jos, Nigeria establishing best practice through the use of a safe, affordable and sustainable soil treatment.
The product called RECHARGE, helps to enhance the crop’s ability to defend itself against pests, disease and environmental stresses.
The farm has around 25 hectares of greenhouse which primarily grows tomatoes and peppers. Odunayo Orowumi, Head Agronomist at the farm said: “In the past, our farm has been devastated by the Tuta absoluta pest and despite trying a number of conventional pesticides, the moth caused complete losses within a number of our greenhouses.”
After seeking the help of Agronet, a local agricultural and consultancy service, they began applying the Russell IPM solution within their greenhouses. The result was complete control of the pest, “We cannot overstate the importance of following the complete Russell IPM control programme right from the beginning of the season. Applying RECHARGE within the nursery will enable successful control of the pest.”
“In control areas of the farm, where the soil treatment was not applied, there is a clear infestation of the Tuta absoluta pest.”
Dr Shakir Al-Zaidi, the Managing Director of Russell IPM commented ‘We have developed a natural, sustainable and safe solution to the tomato pest that prevents Tuta absoluta from establishing harmful population levels. The soil treatment works through nature’s own weapons – recharging the soil with beneficial microbes that nature uses to keep the insect populations in balance. It is a novel approach for not controlling Tuta absoluta but also to stop its spread”.