The Western Cape Department of Agriculture is tracking several incidences of a pest affecting tomato crops.
Cases have been reported in Paarl and Robertson. At this stage, an indication of the extent of the damage has not been determined.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the tomato leaf miner (Tuta Absoluta), a species of moth which attacks tomato crops, had now been detected in the Western Cape, despite attempts to halt its progress in other provinces.
“The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have been monitoring Tuta Absoluta for the past two years. The first positive tests were in South Africa in August this year, when it was detected in Mpumalanga. Since then it has spread to other parts of the country. This pest is aggressive and attacks the entire plant, from the leaves to the fruit. DAFF has advised growers to check plants for any detection of signs such as eggs, especially if they receive seedlings from Limpopo or Mpumalanga.”
According to DAFF, the pest easily becomes resistant to chemicals and the industry is encouraged to approach pesticide representatives.