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Managing Tuta absoluta in Southern Africa

The World Vegetable Center Eastern and Southern Africa in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosted a training workshop on how to manage Tuta absoluta in southern African countries on 13-17 March 2017 at the WorldVeg campus in Arusha, Tanzania.

Thirty plant protection officers from 14 southern African countries participated in the workshop.

Tuta absoluta has been established for a long time in the region. Without proper management, this pest devastates tomato crops. Farmers then abandon their crops due to high losses, which eventually leads to malnutrition and hunger because farmers rely on tomato sales to purchase other foods to feed their families. In the market, prices for the few tomatoes that are available can increase by 10 times the normal price.

The training imparted surveillance skills and standard protocols that can be used by countries to train staff to identify Tuta absoluta, recognize damage symptoms compared to other leaf miners, and develop strategies to manage the pest in accordance with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs).

Story and photos: Never Mwambela

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(from left) Elias Shem and Never Mwambela on a field practical to show damage from T. absoluta 

Participants hone their identification and surveillance skills with pheromone traps for monitoring T. absoluta populations in the field.