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The Federal Government has completed the installation of various cottage industries on pesticides in Gombe State to curb “Tuta Absoluta” pest in tomatoes,  according to Alhaji Mustapha Bab-Shehuri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mustapha Bab-Shehuri
Alhaji Mustapha Bab-Shehuri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development

Bab-Shehuri, who was on a working visit to Gombe, disclosed this on Friday, February 5, 2021 during a courtesy call on Gov. Inuwa Yahaya, saying that the state government should endeavour to put the facility to good use and ensure its maintenance.

Tuta absoluta is a specie of moth, in the family of Gelechiidae, known by its common names: tomato leafminer, tomato pinworm and South American tomato moth. It is well known as a serious pest to tomato crops in Europe, Africa, western Asia and South and Central America.

According to the minister, the plight of Nigerian farmers was a source of concern to the Federal Government, hence the promotion of agriculture across the nation to ensure food security.

”The Federal Government is targeting  five million jobs in the agriculture sector, which will engage women, youths and vulnerable, with the aim of integrating them into the country’s economy,” the minister said.

He noted that, in 2020, 1,138 million peasant farmers benefited from the initiative in all the 36 states and the FCT, adding that more people were expected to benefit under the second phase in 2021.

The minister said that the Federal Government, in partnership with the state governments, would employ one million youths to serve as village extension agents, explaining that Gombe State was host to eight of the 234 paddy aggregation centres nationwide.

In the meantime, he also said that the Federal Government had directed the release of 5,000 metric tons of maize to the strategic food reserves in the country.

Responding, Yahaya said that 75 per cent of Gombe people were farmers and thus the state needed urgent support to improve their livelihoods, while citing the Wawa-Zange grazing reserve in the state as the largest in West Africa which can be utilised for various agricultural activities.

The governor commended the Federal Government for its initiative of creating five million jobs in the agricultural sector, stating the state government’s readiness to partner with the Federal Government.

By Hajara Leman

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