British organisation, Russell IPM, recently announced its plan to help Zambians in their fight against Tuta absoluta (tomato leaf miner), during a recent awareness seminar about the pest-induced disease. According to Russell IPM, the company has developed solutions to deal with the pest at various stages of infestation. Leaf miner can attack the plant at any stage of its development.
The announcement was made during the seminar, organised by the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), and at meetings held in Lusaka.
The Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) said that Russell IPM had already begun the administrative legwork, required by the Zambian government, that would allow the company to sell its products in the country.
Tomato leaf miner, which can destroy from 80% to 100% of the crop, is spreading rapidly throughout the globe, and tomato crops all over Africa are currently at risk. Earlier this year Nigeria declared a state of emergency because of the grave threat posed by the pest. A recent report confirmed the presence of tomato leaf miner as far south as South Africa’s Limpopo province.
Part of the discussions, during the awareness seminar, included talks on environmentally-friendly pest controls, soil microbe enhancement, pheromone lures and mass trapping of leaf miner moths.
The ZNFU said farmers were reliant on Russell IPM to provide practical solutions to control Tuta absoluta, as well as affordable and competitive solutions. They would also need support services along with integrated pest management solutions, and education about the dreaded pest.
Farmers expect ZARI and the Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service to control and monitor movement and activity of the leaf miner and infected produce.