Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Takes Action to Safeguard Tomato Crops Against Global Threat: Tuta absoluta
January 26th, 2024:- In a proactive move to protect our vital solanaceous crops, particularly tomatoes, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries issues an urgent call to farmers, stakeholders, and the public to unite against the relentless tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta. Solanaceous crops are a group of plants that belong to the Solanaceae family. The family includes a number of agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and ornamentals. As a leader in agricultural innovation, the Ministry is spearheading the implementation of comprehensive measures to combat this menace and secure our agricultural future.
Over the last decade, Tuta absoluta has emerged as a significant global threat, infesting 60% of tomato crops worldwide. In 2022, this formidable adversary reached our shores in Trinidad, prompting immediate action from the Ministry. In 2023, our Research Division, in alignment with the vision of Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, implemented an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, incorporating innovative strategies such as surveillance and pheromone mass trapping.
Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, emphasizes, “In the face of challenges, the Ministry remains steadfast in its commitment to the resilience and sustainability of our agricultural sector. The threat posed by Tuta absoluta requires a unified response, and we urge farmers and the public to join us in implementing the recommended strategies. Our collective efforts can overcome this agricultural menace, ensuring the continued prosperity of our tomato crops and safeguarding the livelihoods of our farming communities.”
We urge farmers to remain vigilant as we enter the dry season, closely monitoring their fields for any signs of Tuta absoluta resurgence. The Ministry recommends the adoption of proven Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to safeguard crops and ensure sustainable agricultural practices.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies Include:
Public Awareness Campaigns: Farmer training sessions, virtual digital recordings, flyers, posters, brochures, factsheets.
Cultural Practices: Crop rotation, field sanitation.
Pheromone Trapping & Chemical Control: Refer to attachments for detailed guidelines.
Natural Enemy Identification: Ongoing scouting for natural enemies.
Monitoring and Surveillance Activities: Continuous efforts to stay informed.
Knowledge is Power: Refer to the attached guidelines for effective management and control of Tuta absoluta. Understanding the outlined strategies is paramount in combating this threat. Early detection is critical, and farmers are encouraged to seek assistance from the nearest MALF County Office if any signs of Tuta absoluta infestations are observed.
In the face of challenges, collective efforts can triumph over this agricultural menace. Let’s unite to protect our tomato crops, ensuring food security and sustaining our agricultural communities.
For more information and to report sightings, please contact: Research Division, Entomology Unit at 646-4335/6
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