The current scarcity of tomato in Nigeria is due to the spread of a disease known as “Tomato Ebola”, reports have said.
The disease is caused by a moth called “Tuta absoluta” which has destroyed many tomato fields.
The development has led the Kaduna State government to declare a state of emergency.
“We have declared a state of emergency over the outbreak of a moth that has destroyed over 80% of tomato farms in the state,” the Commissioner for Agriculture, Manzo Daniel told AFP.
The tomato scarcity has led to an astronomical rise in the price of the vegetable with four tomatoes now being sold for as much as N1000.
“This is only the beginning of a disaster if we don’t take drastic measures because the disease is fast spreading across the north,” Daniel added.
The scarcity has also led to the closure of a tomato processing factory built by billionaire, Aliko Dangote.
The name “Tomato Ebola” was coined by farmers who have likened the disease to the Ebola virus which terrorized Nigerians in 2014.