image on how to combat potato disease

How to Combat the resurgence of potato pest and disease in the plateau.

The Unique climate of the plateau

Potatoes (Irish) can be grown throughout the world in different climates. Some varieties thrive better in specific climatic conditions than others. Sadly, in most part of the world, the potato varieties we are familiar with are those selected for their commercial relevance. In Nigeria the Irish potato is commercially grown in Plateau state, even though it could greatly thrive in other regions. The plateaus cold climatic condition as a result of its altitude favors the cultivation of Irish potatoes and a number of other vegetables.

The bright and the dark side

While the bulk of Nigeria’s Irish potato supply comes from the plateau, it equally presents a down turn. The cold wet weather that characterizes the plateau through the rain fed farm season equally favors a number of devastating pest and diseases. In years with heavy infestation such as experienced in 2022, farmers can lose an upward of nearly 50-60 % of their crops and investment. An event that can devastate farmers and consumers alike, resulting in price spikes. These further buttresses the need for a decentralized approach to food production, shunning all regional and monopolistic farming systems so that when one region suffers a challenge, the other can cushion.

Potato pest and disease

While there are numerous pests and diseases of Irish potato, the most devastating in the Plateau are the:

Potato tuber moth, commonly the Phthorimaea operculelle, the most damaging pest of planted and stored potatoes, particularly in tropical regions. Larvae damage and reduce tuber quality by burrowing into tuber to complete its life cycle, a process that further deteriorate tuber by infesting it with molds which eventually decompose the tuber

Late blight, the most dreaded potato disease worldwide. Its causative agent Phytophthora infestans is a mold that thrives in humid environments, destroying potato leaves, stems and tuber

Understanding the solution to potato pest and disease

While admitting that there is no one-size fits all solution to the challenges of pest and disease of potato; it is pertinent to note that Increasing potato production while protecting the farmers, consumers and environment requires an integrated approach to soil, nutrient and disease management. It essentially encompasses a range of strategies that encourages:

  • the natural predators of these pest, and disease to thrive,
  • engaging nutrient management systems that builds, and equip the soil with the right resources.Well-nourished plants can fight disease/pest on their own,
  • breeding varieties with pest/disease resistance,
  • engaging disease free planting material(seeds),
  • and finally, rotating fields to break disease/pest cycles and build ups

The Ecofarms grower solution

Sustainable production of sufficient high quality and affordable food for a growing population like we have in Nigeria is a global challenge farmers are struggling to cope with. At Ecofarms grower solutions, we work with farmers to help improve the existing approaches to farming, crop nutrient delivery and management, combating disease and pest, food storage, delivery and mitigating all adverse effects of these operations on man, the environment and biodiversity. Our local crop advisors work with farmers to engage turn key agricultural innovations and solutions designed to address these challenges. Please contact us today to discus how we can work with you to address any challenge.