Saturday, October 31, 2020

MP calls for financial relief to tomato farmers

The Member of Parliament for Takatokwane Ngaka Ngaka says the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security should compensate farmers for the damage and losses caused by the wide-spreading Tomato Leaf Miner disease to ease their financial burdens.

The outbreak which occurred a few months ago devastated much of southern Africa triggering an acute shortage of tomatoes in Botswana. Already, 198.51 hectares of tomatoes has been lost as they were infested.

“Minister you should consider introducing compensation similar to the one given to farmers when there is cattle disease outbreak such as FMD, said Ngaka. He came to the defence of farmers stating that when they destroy the tomatoes, they end up suffering severely financially.

“They are also losing a lot of money when they are forced to destroy all that they have as a way of controlling the outbreak,” Ngaka said.

The pest which is is capable of causing 100 percent yield was detected in Botswana early December last year, hitting areas  such as Bobirwa, Boteti, Chobe, North East and North West. 

The main pathway for the Tomato Leaf Miner to spread from one area to another is through the movement of infested seedlings and tomato fruits. 

The Ministry put in place a management strategy in which tomato and related crops importation was banned and traders deterred from moving solanaceous crops from the Tomato Leaf Miner infested areas.

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