Tomato farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from a new variety that is resistant to wilting launched by Bayer East Africa. The disease causes 50 to 100 per cent loss yield in affected crops.
The variety called Seminis Tomato Ansal is resistant to bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, tomato leaf curl virus and root-knot nematodes.
A 25g packet which enough or planting one acre is sold by the company at Sh15,000 and is available in agro-vet shops in Nyanza, Embu, Nyahururu, Loitoktok, Marigat and Kirinyaga among other regions.
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Tomatoes affected by bacterial wilt
Tomato plants affected by bacterial wilt usually wither and die quickly without warning. The bacteria affect plants that are cut, injured or weakened by poor transplanting, pests and other diseases.
According to Bayer EA, the variety will benefit farmers in bacterial wilt infested regions such as Nyanza, Marigat, Nyahururu, Embu and Loitoktok. It can be grown in hot areas and can yield up to 30 metric tonnes per acre.
The variety has a firm skin and can be harvested up to 15 times with a two to three weeks lifespan. It also has a higher yield of 5 to eight fruits per cluster compared to others that have three to four.
A survey conducted by Amiran across the country in 2016 revealed that bacteria wilt was among top challenges facing farmers in Kenya.