Monday, 23 June 2014

Tuta absoluta the new pest of tomatoes in Kenya

Tomatoes are the fourth most important horticultural crop in Kenya contributing Sh14 billion to the country’s economy annually.  The crop is seriously threatened by tuta absoluta the new pest of tomatoes in Kenya which destroys 50 to 100 % of the crop. The problems origin is said to be Ethiopia but the spread has been detected in parts of Meru, Kirinyaga, Kabete as well as Loitoktok. 

While addressing press in Sawela Lodge, Naivasha, Cabinet secretary for Agriculture Felix Koskei said that the Ministry for Agriculture, Kari and universities are collaborating to research on the problem in order to stop its spread. In 2004, tuta absoluta the new pest of tomatoes was added to the Mediterranean plant protection organization action list of pest recommended for regulation. As control measures, infested plants should be removed and residues disposed well in order to arrest the spread. 

The larval stages feeds on all tender plant parts including green and ripe tomato fruits’ irregular mines and galleries which can easily be seen on the plant characterize the presence of the monster. Tuta absoluta the new pest of tomatoes in Kenya can be controlled through field hygiene, crop rotation, effective weed control especially datura, solunum and nicotiana. Chemical control is by the use of pyrethroids for 30 consecutive days rotating insecticides for effective control.