Boko Haram Responsible for Tomato Scarcity – Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Informa­tion and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has as­cribed tomato scarcity in the country to Boko Ha­ram which ravaged some states in the North East.

Tomato is commonly used as part of ingredients in soup-making across the country. It is also used a condiment in various dishes.

But, it has been very expensive in the last two months as a result of acute scarcity, which has been blamed on a new pest, tuta absoluta. The pest is also known as ‘tomato ebola.’

Yesterday, Mohammed ascribed scarcity of toma­toes to years of insecurity in the North east part of the country.

He said this in an in­terview with Lagos-based Channels Television.

Mohammed specifically said insecurity in the re­gion forced many farmers out of the zone.

“People talk about the price of tomato but, they forget one thing; they for­get that the price of to­mato, today, is a direct result of the fact that we have lost two years’ har­vest to Boko Haram insur­gency.Most of the people you see riding Okada (mo­torcycles) in Lagos are people who would have been on the farm to pro­duce consumable items.”

Asked if he was con­vinced that tomato scar­city could be attributed to insurgency, he affirmed: “Absolutely! Do you farm where there is war?

“We have lost two sea­sons of harvest, in addi­tion, we have had very poor rainfall last year and this year. These are the combined factors respon­sible for the scarcity of tomato.

“Go and ask economists and agriculturists, they will tell you.”

The minister also at­tributed the prevalent clashes between farmers and herdsmen to climate change.

“When you look at the herdsmen and farmers clashes, I think its neglect of many years. More than 15, 20 years ago, we were warned all over the world that, as a result of climate change there could be conflicts and we should take steps to avert such clashes, but, we did not listen.

“What is happening is that there is a gradual reduction in natural re­sources. If you take Lake Chad for instance, it has lost almost 90 percent of its waters over a couple of years.

“Lake Chad sustained and supported livelihood of farmers and fishers, with the loss of waters, you see a migration south­wards.”

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