Following the scarcity of tomatoes as a result of ‘Tomato Ebola,’ the Vice-Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University (BIU), Professor Ernest Izevbigie, disclosed that tomatoes would be produced annually by the institution’s Faculty of Agriculture.
The VC who made this known at a press briefing in Benin on Wednesday, said: “We are making an audacious statement that Benson Idahosa University is poised to produce 800,000 tonnes of tomatoes to ameliorate the present shortage in the supply of tomatoes in Nigeria in the next one year.
“We are at a risk of food insecurity; that is what is happening now. If you have food security, you will have plenty of food available. But food security in this country is being threatened,” he added.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbe, had on Tuesday explained that the pest called Tomato Leaf Miner /Tuta absoluta, which was responsible for the massive destruction of tomatoes in farmlands, had spread to six states in the country.
While noting that shortage of tomatoes in the country has become an embarrassment to the nation, Izevbigie said the BIU embarked on a research that would make tomatoes available all year round.
According to him, the school had already cultivated 10 hectares of the vegetable crop which is expected to produce 200,000 tonnes in every three months “and from our research and findings, we can do this four times in a year and all put together, we will be harvesting 800, 000 tonnes annually. With this, we can ameliorate the challenges posed by the shortage of the crop, the VC stressed.