Wednesday February 26, 2020

A moth nicknamed as “Tomato Ebola” is destroying Nigeria’s tomatoes

A bucket of toms which was earlier 1.5$ now costs 7.5$. Price has rocketed up to 400%.

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Tomato farms, Wikimedia commons

Nigeria is known for its top class tomatoes. Tasty and juicy tomatoes are part of nearly every dish in Nigeria. A state government in Nigeria has declared a state of emergency due to the substantial destruction of tomato fields by moths.

Nigerian farmers have termed the outbreak as ‘Tomato Ebola’. Tomato is a central ingredient in Nigerian dishes. The scarcity of tomatoes will simply mean now they can’t afford their beloved toms. Nigerians won’t be able to make their favorite jollof rice (a national dish made with tomato paste). Such is the scarcity of tomatoes in the country. Inflation rates are growing and Africa’s economy is getting affected as a result of the moth named Tuta absolute was also known as Tomato Leaf Miner.

The moth attacks the leaves of the tomato plant and the larvae produced by the moth feed on the plants causing a total loss of yield. No pesticides are able to kill the larvae. After 3 hours of spraying, they again come back to life.

Tomatoes getting affected, Wikimedia commons
Tomatoes getting affected. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Northwest and central regions have been affected the most. Kaduna (also called the tomato capital of Nigeria) is in a state of emergency. Manzo Daniel (the Kaduna state agriculture commissioner) said “We have declared a state of emergency over the outbreak of a moth that has destroyed over 80% of tomato farms in the state. More than 200 tomato farmers in the region have suffered losses of more than 1bn naira ($5.02m) from the disease.” A bucket of toms which was earlier 1.5$ now costs 7.5$.  Price has rocketed up to 400%.

Nigeria’s federal agriculture minister has reported that the moth has spread to at least 6 states and is posing a threat to national food security. He also warned that the moth can attack potato and pepper plants.

Governors and commissioners of states are jointly working to get rid of this situation. Kenya has a good advantage on this issue. They use some plant extract to take care of the moth. Since Nigerian experts don’t have the knowledge yet so they are looking forward to Kenya to eradicate this tomato menace. The agricultural specialists are working with Kenya experts to find a proper solution.

Tomatoes production getting affected due to the moth, Wikimedia commons
Tomatoes production getting affected due to the moth. Image source: Wikimedia commons

The heat is on even on social platforms. On Social networking, sites such as Twitter people are tweeting humorous posts about Spanish La Tomatina festival where tons of tomatoes are wasted. Some even tweeted “La Tomatina@ Tomatoes throwing party in Spain. If only these guys know the price of Tomatoes in Nigeria today…”

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-by Pritam

Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

 

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“India Has Opportunity To Become One of The Top Three Economies in The World”, Says Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani

The RIL chairman said that empowering small and medium businesses would be key to driving India's growth faster

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Mukesh Ambani
The RIL chairman said that empowering small and medium businesses would be key to driving India's growth faster. Wikimedia Commons

Riding on the power of technology, India has the opportunity to become a premier digital society and one of the top three economies in the world, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said here on Monday.

Ambani said that India has the opportunity to become the most technically-enabled society where all the development could be powered by the tools of technology. “We can argue about whether it will happen in five years or 10 years but it is going to happen, and we will be in the top three countries in the world,” he said in a fireside chat with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The RIL chairman said that empowering small and medium businesses would be key to driving India’s growth faster. “Every small business and entrepreneur in India has the potential to become a Dhirubhai Ambani or Bill Gates. And that is the power that differentiates India from the rest of the world,” he said during Microsoft’s “Future Decoded Summit” here.

“I think that the entrepreneurial power that we have at the grassroots is enormous. We have to realise that small, medium and micro enterprises provide 70 per cent of India’s employment. They drive 40 per cent of India’s exports,” Ambani added. India has transformed tremendously over the past two decades — from a $300 billion economy in early 1990s to becoming a $3 trillion economy in 2020.

“And I think, I can easily say that the mobile networks in India now are better or at par with anybody else in the world,” he said. About 38 crore people have migrated to the 4G technology platform offered by Jio in about three years, Ambani informed, adding that since the establishment of Jio, average data rate has come down drastically in India — from Rs 300-Rs 500 per GB to Rs 12-Rs14 per GB.

Congratulating Nadella for his leadership of the organisation, Ambani said that the collaboration between Microsoft and Jio would be a defining partnership of the decade. RIL in August last year announced partnership of its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm with Microsoft in the technology space, including creation on cloud solutions.

As per the partnership, Jio will leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to develop innovative cloud solutions focused on the needs of Indian businesses. Jio will set up data centres in locations across India, consisting of next-generation compute, storage and networking capabilities, and Microsoft will deploy its Azure platform in these data centres to support Jio’s offerings.

Mukesh Ambani
Riding on the power of technology, India has the opportunity to become a premier digital society and one of the top three economies in the world, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said here on Monday. Wikimedia Commons

Nadella said that the mission of Microsoft is to help organisation to become independent — not dependent — to build their own Artificial Intelligence and other tech capabilities, and tech intensity. “In the next decade, our main investment will be on making software engineeres that organisations hire more productive,” Nadella said, adding that Microsoft will build complete toolchain for developers.

The Microsoft CEO said that the increasing rate of digitization of people, places, and things, will be the defining secular trend over the next 10 years. Saying that Microsoft’s differentiated approach across the cloud and edge is winning customers, Nadella said that Microsoft now has 57 data centre regions in the world.

ALSO READ: Google Invites Applications for 4th Batch of “Startups Accelerator India” Programme

In India, Microsoft has three data centre regions — Mumbai, Pune and Chennai — besides a Cybersecurity Engagement Centre in New Delhi. (IANS)