According to a press release from the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, the university has collected samples of the new virus disease affecting Okra plants across the country and has begun investigating the problem.
On Sunday in Zaria, the institute’s executive director, Prof. Mohammed-Faguji Ishiyaku, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to make this announcement.
Ishiyaku reported that the samples were being cultivated in the institute’s laboratory with the goal of determining the true virus and insect responsible for the disease’s transmission.
According to the National Agricultural Network (NAN), the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has discovered a new virus illness that is killing okra plants across the country at a rate of over 70%.
Ishiyaku stated that once the institute received the report, its scientists went on a tour of the affected areas in Kaduna State and elsewhere to evaluate the situation.
The rapid evaluation based on the expertise of our scientists proved that the unusual ailment was a viral infection, making the condition an epidemic with a national scope.
According to the research, certain insects (vectors) spread the virus, and unlike bacterial or fungal infections, there is no pharmacological way to stop viral infections.
The executive director has suggested spraying insecticides on the okra field to keep the insects at bay and prevent the spread of the disease to other fields while permanent measures are developed.
However, according to Ishiyaku, the fruits of these diseased okra are safe to eat.
Before the next growing season, he recommended that the farmers spray their fields with chemicals and use only healthy seed stock. (NAN)