NIHORT develops technology to tackle pest invasion of tomato farms


The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, says it has developed a technology, Tuta Absoluta Trap Tray, to tackle the invasion of tomato farms by Tuta Absoluta pest.

The Acting Executive Director of NIHORT, Dr Akeem Olaniyan, said this at the institute’s 2018 In-House Review and Planning Meeting in Ibadan on Wednesday.

The meeting has “Enhancing Economic Growth through Horticultural Value Chains’’ as its theme.

Olaniyan said that NIHORT developed “NIHORT-LYPTOL’’, a fabricated machine for bio-pesticide extraction, for the containment of the invasion of tomato farms by Tuta Absoluta.

The tray trap brought down the level of Tuta Absoluta invasion in the five major tomato producing states that experienced the pest invasion heavily,” he said.

Olaniyan said that plantain or banana peel and stalk waste, which could have resulted in environmental menace, were also converted into various types of soap by NIHORT.

He said that the institute was also training youths, women and farmers in skills acquisition and empowerment schemes with regard to horticultural crops.

The acting executive director said that starter kits and funds were given to the trainees to support them in efforts to start horticulture-related businesses.

The institute, among others, had organised a capacity building workshop on plantain and tomato value chain for farmers in Oyo State; it also organised an empowerment training on mango and mushroom value chain in Ilorin,’’ .

Olaniyan, however, said that NIHORT was facing challenges like encroachment by land speculators, exorbitant electricity bills and uncompleted new biotechnology laboratory for propagation of disease-free planting materials.

Also speaking, the Chairman of NIHORT Governing Board, retired Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Garba, said that research institutes should play a key role in the Federal Government’s efforts to diversify the nation’s economy through agriculture.

He urged research institutes, especially NIHORT, to be self-sustaining so as to facilitate Nigeria’s efforts to achieve food security.

“The current administration is ready to do its best to improve the agricultural sector to better the national economy; so, you should think of how to generate funds internally.

“You should come up with viable proposals; once you can justify the use, releasing funds to you won’t not be a problem. So, it all depends on you,”.

In his keynote address, Mr Peter Jegede, the Chairman of Quality Foods Manufacturing Enterprises, Ibadan, urged scientists to produce flowers that could make manufacturers to attain self-sufficiency in honey production.

Jegede also underscored the need for Nigeria to harness its natural resources to facilitate national development.

“For us Nigerians to grow more, we must drop the habit of mediocrity and be positive in all we do. Honestly, there is no crop grown in the world that Nigeria cannot grow,”.

The highlights of the occasion include the launch of some NIHORT projects and the tour of exhibition stands.