Tomato farmers in Kumo Community in Gombe have called on both the Federal and the State Governments to assist in combating the perennial plant pests affecting tomato cultivation in the community.
The farmers made the appeal in separate interviews with Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in the Kumo Community of Akko Local Government Area of the state.
Alhaji Yaya Siddau, who had been cultivating tomatoes for over 32 years in Wuro-YayanGari village, said the cultivation of the plant was becoming more difficult as a result of pests that were attacking their farmlands.
Siddau lamented that pests were more prevalent during the rainy season and exposed them to losses, describing the trend as discouraging.
“ I have been a tomatoes farmer for over 32 years now and I have not experienced the kind of destruction by these pests. Within the last six years or more, we have had to battle with tomato plant disease.
“We need the intervention of both the Federal and the State governments to boost the cultivation of the vegetable and to halt the trend from farmers jettisoning tomato cultivation for other crops’’
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Ibrahim Mustapha, Chairman, Tomato Farmers in Akko LGA, said tomato cultivation had become a tradition in the community and that the produce from their community had served both the neighboring states and traders from the Niger Republic.
“Government should come to our aid to combat these pests to sustain this tradition of tomato cultivation in the community, which has been and is still providing the means of livelihood to our people here.
“ It is because of this cultivation that the tomato company, which is now moribund was set up here by the old Bauchi State Government. That is proof that we are contributing to food security too,” he said.
Mustapha added that with the prompt intervention of the government in this regard ahead of this year’s rainy season, there would be a boost in tomato production to meet local demands.
“During the rainy seasons, we usually have thousands of baskets of tomatoes and several trucks loading from dawn to dusk. We have really been instrumental in ensuring that tomato cultivation is sustained in Gombe State,’’ he said.
Another farmer, Mai-Anguwa Mohammed, said that many people in the area engaged in tomato and perishable produce cultivation in view of its lucrative nature.
Mohammed added that most farmers lost their investments to the pests due to the lack of modern technologies to control it.
“We no longer get good returns,” he said and appealed to the government to assist them with chemical and irrigation facilities to encourage productivity.
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