A devastating pest that mainly attacks tomato crops has broken out on farms in Kafue district and surrounding areas.Kafue District Farmers’ Association Chairperson Mrs. Chuma Sianga confirmed the outbreak of the pest called Tuta Absoluta and said that the matter has been reported to authorities in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mrs Sianga said she noticed some plants and leaves of her tomato crop drying up and sort expert advice at the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute and ascertained that it was the result of a notorious pest called Tuta Absoluta, also called Tomato Leaf Miner.
The pest, which attacks tomato production both protected and open fields, can be a very challenging pest to control. The moths of Tuta absoluta mine the leaves, producing large galleries and burrow into the fruit, causing a substantial loss of tomato production. The larvae feed on mesophyll tissues and make irregular mine on leaf surface. Damage can reach up to 100%.