Researchers hailing from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Namulonge have issued a stern warning to the public regarding a novel tomato pest infection. This pest, colloquially referred to as the invasive tomato leaf Miner, is believed to have originated in South Africa and has now infiltrated Uganda’s tomato crops.
Referred to as “tomato Alsha-bab” in Nigeria and “Tuta absoluta” in South America, this unwelcome intruder is spreading rapidly in Uganda, posing a severe threat to the country’s tomato farming sector.
Ramathan Idd, a research scientist at NARO, emphasizes the need for caution among farmers in the wake of this newfound menace.
The primary characteristic of this tomato pest is its feeding habit, which occurs between the layers of the tomato, leading to a whitish discoloration of the seeds.
Additionally, once the larvae hatch, they tunnel into the leaves, bore into the stems, and even infest the fruits for sustenance. Astonishingly prolific, a single pest can lay approximately 260 eggs in a short span of 30 to 40 days, compounding the problem for farmers.
Ramathan Idd has extended his advice to farmers, suggesting they seek guidance on effectively controlling this new tomato pest.
This guidance can be obtained from experienced farmers as well as NARO.
Furthermore, he has urged the Ministry of Agriculture to consider the training of extension workers to better equip them to address this pressing agricultural concern.