Tuta absoluta was first known as a tomato pest in many South American countries. In 2006, it was identified in Spain. The following year it was detected in France, Italy, Greece, Malta, Morocco, Algeria and Libya. In 2009, Turkey In 2010. The advance of T. absoluta continued to the east to reach Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Iran. Further advances southward reached Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the rest of the Gulf states. In Africa, T. absoluta moved from Egypt to reach Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia from the east and to reach the Senegal from the westand later Nigeria
Tuta absoluta is a devastating pest considered to be a serious threat to tomato production.
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It can cause extreme damage in tomatoes, eggplants, aubergine, sweet peppers and potatoes, whilst also feeding on weeds from the Solanaceae family
Tuta absoluta has the ability to destroy a whole tomato farm within 48 hours.
The pest has destroyed most of the tomato farms in Kano, Jigawa, Plateau, Katsina and Kaduna states making fresh tomatoes unavailable and price of the perishable commodity to go up.
I also read in today’s Vanguard that the newly established Dangote Tomato Processing Factory in Kadawa, Kano State, Nigeria has suspended production because there were no fresh tomatoes to process.
Wikipedia also confirms that the larva feeds voraciously upon tomato plants, producing large galleries in leaves, burrowing in stalks, and consuming apical buds and green and ripe fruits. It is capable of causing a yield loss of 100%.
Tomato is the main host plant, but T. absoluta also attacks other crop plants of the nightshade family, including potato, eggplant, pepino and tobacco. It is known from many solanaceous weeds, including Datura stramonium, Lycium chilense, and Solanum nigrum.
The adult moth has a wingspan around one centimeter. In favorable weather conditions, eight to ten generations can occur in a single year.