BREAKTHROUGH With Professor MK Othman

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Peeping At The Research And Development Centres: IAR, NAERLS And NIHORT Successful Fight Against Tuta Absoluta On Tomato Production In Nigeria II

Tuta Absoluta life cycle

The outbreak of Tuta Absoluta in the country resulted in a colossal loss of billions of Naira worth of income to small-scale tomato producers across the nation.
The problem became so alarming that the authorities, tomato producers and indeed the whole nation were disturbed and looked for succor in all directions.
It was apparent that something urgent had to be done to curtail the menace otherwise the situation could be calamitous.
It was at this moment of urgency that three agricultural research Institutes rose to the occasion and deployed their expertise to bring succor to the nation.
Two of the three Institutes are Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) and National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS).
They are both Ahmadu Bello University-based research centres under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Abuja and the coordination of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).The duo set up a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to conduct a study of the Tuta Absoluta affected areas. The study was aimed at identifying the problems, their solutions and measures to prevent future occurrence. The team was similarly expected to ascertain the nature and severity of the moth attack.
The duo set up a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to conduct a study of the Tuta Absoluta affected areas. The study was aimed at identifying the problems, their solutions and measures to prevent future occurrence. The team was similarly expected to ascertain the nature and severity of the moth attack.
The study was aimed at identifying the problems, their solutions and measures to prevent future occurrence. The team was similarly expected to ascertain the nature and severity of the moth attack.
The team had to use a combination of research methods to successfully accomplish the task within the time frame of one month allocated to it. Scientific field survey techniques such as Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRR), Focus Group discussion, and key informant interview and questionnaire administration were employed for the study. Three locations in three local government areas were purposely selected as samples of the Tuta Absoluta affected areas. Similarly, a major tomato market was visited in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Some of the visited tomato production areas were
Scientific field survey techniques such as Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRR), Focus Group discussion, and key informant interview and questionnaire administration were employed for the study. Three locations in three local government areas were purposely selected as samples of the Tuta Absoluta affected areas. Similarly, a major tomato market was visited in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Some of the visited tomato production areas were
Three locations in three local government areas were purposely selected as samples of the Tuta Absoluta affected areas. Similarly, a major tomato market was visited in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Some of the visited tomato production areas were
Similarly, a major tomato market was visited in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Some of the visited tomato production areas were Galama River Irrigation Scheme in Zaria Local Government Area, Fadama areas in Nasarawa Buhari, Sabon Gari Local Government Area and Maraban Guga in Giwa Local Government Area. Others included Ikara,
Others included Ikara, Kubau and Soba LGAs. At the end of the study, an impressive result was obtained that led to the control of the menace.
An affected fruit and leaf

IAR and NAERLS assiduously worked to curtail the Tuta menace in the north, which was the most affected area in the country. In
In a similar vein, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) worked through a massive campaign to address the problem. NIHORT is the only Horticultural Research Institute in Nigeria and West African with a mandate to carry out research on fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental plants. NAERLS has the national mandate for disseminating agricultural technologies while IAR has the mandate, amongst other research activities, for improving the
NIHORT is the only Horticultural Research Institute in Nigeria and West Africa with a mandate to carry out research on fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental plants. NAERLS has the national mandate for disseminating agricultural technologies while IAR has the mandate, amongst other research activities, for improving the
NAERLS has the national mandate for disseminating agricultural technologies while IAR has the mandate, amongst other research activities, to improve the farming systems and agricultural practices in North West States of Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States.
The concerted effort of the three Institutes revealed the gravity of the Tuta menace as well as offered management techniques for its control.
Study findings
The study revealed the infested crops as tomato, pepper, Cucumber and carrots. The larvae heavily mined leaves of the plants leaving dry patches and ragged. In most cases the plants were completely defoliated. Within two days of attack, some of the fieldswere completely devastated leaving a seemingly fire-scorched field. Most fields experienced 100% loss so much so that the farmers abandoned the fields. Where fruits were produced, there were holes and crevices, which served as entry points for soft rot pathogens. Thus, the fruits rotted thereby reducing the market value. Infested cucumber leave looked crinkled, withered, distorted and scorched particularly the younger parts; while the older leaves showed evidence of being mined. Fruits from affected portions develop white skin, skin, become gritty and hard. Such fruits develop bitter taste. Again, the study found that the Tuta larva was voraciously feeding mesophyll tissues, producing large galleries in leaves, burrowing in stalks, and consuming apical buds and green and ripe fruits, which caused a substantial loss of tomato production. In addition, Tuta was suspected to be a vector of virus disease. This is because some of the infected tomato plants on the fields were stunted and showed virus symptoms.
In most cases, the plants were completely defoliated. Within two days of the attack, some of the fields were completely devastated leaving a seemingly fire-scorched field. Most fields experienced 100% loss so much so that the farmers abandoned the fields. Where fruits were produced, there were holes and crevices, which served as entry points for soft rot pathogens. Thus, the fruits rotted thereby reducing the market value. Infested cucumber leave looked
Most fields experienced 100% loss so much so that the farmers abandoned the fields. Where fruits were produced, there were holes and crevices, which served as entry points for soft rot pathogens. Thus, the fruits rotted thereby reducing the market value. Infested cucumber leave looked
Thus, the fruits rotted, thereby reducing the market value. Infested cucumber leave looked crinkled, withered, distorted and scorched particularly the younger parts; while the older leaves showed evidence of being mined. Fruits from affected portions develop white skin, skin, become gritty and hard. Such fruits develop
Fruits from affected portions developed white skin, became gritty and hard. Such fruits developed bitter taste. Again, the study found that the Tuta larva was voraciously feeding mesophyll tissues, producing large galleries in leaves, burrowing in stalks, and consuming apical buds and green and ripe fruits, which caused a substantial loss of tomato production. In addition, Tuta was suspected to be a vector of virus disease. This is because some of the infected tomato plants on the fields were stunted and showed virus symptoms.
Again, the study found that the Tuta larva was voraciously feeding mesophyll tissues, producing large galleries in leaves, burrowing in stalks, and consuming apical buds and green and ripe fruits, which caused a substantial loss of tomato production. In addition, Tuta was suspected to be a vector of virus disease. This is because some of the infected tomato plants on the fields were stunted and showed virus symptoms.
In addition, Tuta was suspected to be a vector of virus disease. This is because some of the infected tomato plants on the fields were stunted and showed virus symptoms.
At the end of the field study conducted by IAR and NAERLS, recommendations were made for the farmers to control the infestation. The recommendations are classified into short, medium and long-term measures.
The short measures are:

  • Application of systemic insecticides e.g. chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid, indoxacarb, Tihan (Spirotetramat + flubendimide), The insecticides should be applied late in the evening NOT in the morning in correct recommended rates (actives ingredient(s) concentration)
  • Tomato should be rotated with non-susceptible crops crops to break the pests cycle.
  • Burning residues of infested crops and clearing alternate hosts to maintain Field hygiene.
  • Adopting Tomato close season in which all residues to tomato plants of previous season will be burnt and discarded to prevent the continuity of the pest.

The Medium-Term Measures are:

  • Further research work involving both laboratory and field studies of the Tuta insect in order to understand its biology in Nigeria
  • Conduct on-station and on-farm trials using candidate insecticides and integrated management strategies to manage the pest.
  • Conduct training sessions to train farmers to understand the biology of the insect and cultural strategies that will help in managing the pest in a sustainable manner. Training should be conducted at States’ ADP zonal levels.

The Long term Measure involves:

  • Undertake efficacy evaluation of different control options individually and in various combinations to come up with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) package with little or no probability of resistance development by the organism
  • Source for alternative pesticides to be substituting/rotating with the available pesticides currently in use to avert resistant strains development,
  • Monitor the pest population by trapping to determine when to commence pesticide application
  • Monitor the adoption of recommended management practices extended to farmers/ training offered and
  • Detect promptly development of resistance to any/some insecticide(s) to allow for quick rotation of insecticides.

While some of these measures were being promoted, NIHORT was vigorously sensitizing farmers on the effective control of the Tuta menace. The sensitization involved the use of campaign materials to educate farmers. Some of the strategies contained in the campaign materials are:

Trap system in checking tuta spread

  • Use of Trapping: Adult Tuta population are monitored right from nursery to the field continuously to detect infestation before damage becomes severe by setting up Tuta Trap Tray (TTT) to attract and kill adult moth. A wide tray of about 5 cm deep can serve as TTT. The tray is filled with water plus small quantity of detergent and a flat stone placed at the centre of the tray to sit a rechargeable lamp. The tray must be placed on the soil between plants in the field. The lamp should be put on to attract adults in the night when they mate and lay eggs.
  • Use of parasitoid and predator: parasitoid is an insect that develops on or within the body of another insect called a host and eventually kills the host. Predator is an insect that feeds on other insects. Both parasitoid and predator are natural enemies of Tuta Absoluta that can kill the moth before it becomes menace. NIHORT have identified three parasitoids and four predators on Tuta Absoluta in Nigeria.
  • Use of Bio-pesticides: Bacillus thuringiensisis registered as Antario (Russel IPM), it is a bio-pesticide and not harmful to Tuta predators and parasitoids. This can be used to control Tuta menace. It is done by mixing 45g of Antario in 100 litres of water and applies on an acre of land. Another bio-pesticide is use of neem seeds or fresh leaves. Mixing 5kg of neem seed or fresh leaves in 100 litres of water for 24 hours, sieve and applies to an acre of land. Substituting the neem seeds or leaves with that of eucalyptus can do similar treatment.

A variant of a tuta absoluta causing moth

The nation witnessed the outbreak of Tuta Absoluta during the 2015/2016 dry season farming. It caused astounding loss of billions of Naira worth of incomes to farmers and the nation imported tomato paste in the country. No doubt, the efforts of IAR, NAERLS and NIHORT were commendable and helped the country to overcome the menace. However, there is need for continuous vigilance as well as synergy among the three Institutes to accomplish the long-term measures recommended herein.
Tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta,Tomato pest, Potato pest. With its high capture rate it is ideal for mass trapping of Tuta absoluta particularly in protected tomato cultivation

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