Farmers in Champhira Extension planning area (EPA) of village head Levi Jere of Inkosi Mzikubola are yet to breathe a sigh of relief as the pest that caused the tomato disease leaf minor has gained resistance since its outbreak last year in the area.
“the tomato disease break out in October last year, and since then officials from the ministry of agriculture came with pesticides sprayer,’’ said Melody Lingston Banda, an agriculture extension development officer(AEDO) for village.
The Phrisps pest that causes leaf minor is still there even when most tomato fields were sprayed, and about 143 farmers, in which 900 are big farmers, have failed to sustain their livelihoods, such as paying school fees for their children.
“due to poor rainfall season this year, most of the farmers do not have food in their homes, and they were unable to buy farm inputs like fertilizer, because they did not have the money as they did not sell their tomatoes.’’
Meanwhile the situation has seen the price of tomato on the rise in most markets in Mzimba. For example: Jenda, Luvwiri and Mzimba, and at the moment tomato is on high demand as it is scarce in most districts in the region.