Nigeria's Kaduna state declares emergency in the tomato sector Amanda Slater/Flickr

Nigeria's Kaduna State has declared a "tomato state of emergency" after moths ravaged up to 80% of tomato farms in the state. The Tomato Leaf Miner, also known as Tuta Absoluta caused losses of at least 1bn naira ($5.1m; £3.5m), the Commissioner of Agriculture Daniel Manzo Maigar said.

The Leaf Miner feasts on tissue plants and is renowned for causing damage to agricultural crops.

"I want to say that Governor Nasir El-Rufai has declared a state of emergency on tomatoes in the state. In the past one month 12 local government areas of the state who produce tomatoes have lost 80% of their tomatoes harvest," Maigar was quoted by This Day news site as saying.

"In three local government areas about 200 farmers have lost one billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the losses. It is so severe that even Dangote [group] who has established a tomato processing plant in Kano had to shut down production."

As a result, the cost of a basket of tomatoes can now be as high as N42,000 ($211; £144).

Maigar added that at least eight other states in northern Nigeria had been affected by losses. It is believed Nigeria is seeking the help of Kenya, which could provide an extract from a plant that kills the insects.

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