HomeStandard StyleDealing with pesticides in tomato production

Dealing with pesticides in tomato production

My background as a nurse introduced me to human medicines that after being ordered by the doctor, I administered orally, intravenously, rectally, topically, etc.

gardening with Doreen Badze

Basically, treating a wide range of symptoms presented by many diseases. My profession required me to know what medication I was administering to a patient and their side effects. However, like many nurses, I handled numerous pharmaceutical drugs that left me with no desire to swallow any pills, risking noncompliance at times. Three years ago, I retired and thought I was done with medicines (mishonga). Little did I know I was walking right into a more serious environment of agricultural chemicals (crop medicines) that I am now learning about. I ventured into greenhouse tomato production and I had the opportunity of hiring an agronomist who assisted me in growing tomatoes. I was excited, but I was left in shock with the amount of chemical spraying involved in tomato production.

However, the use of pesticides has been recognised and accepted as an essential element in the present agricultural practices for the control of pests which damage crops, resulting in severe loss in food production. In this article, I will focus on some of the chemicals that can be used to control Tuta Absoluta, the pest that is threatening tomato production in Zimbabwe. In my weekly updates, I have been throwing information as it comes.

Agronomists continue to research and information is coming. Like I mentioned in the beginning, no one was equipped for Tuta Absoluta, there is now reaction after it had already struck. I have the priviledge of working with some leading agronomists in the country that are willing to weigh in through ongoing research on how best to tackle the invasion.

I had an opportunity to meet a crop protection manager of Intaba Trading, representatives of Syngenta Chemical Products who is also an agronomist who specialises in farming pesticides. There is still confusion among farmers as to what chemicals to use. There is need for a follow up with chemical stores or somebody, in my opinion, to educate farmers on the proper use of pesticides, especially tomatoes that can also be eaten raw. Tuta Absoluta has brought a sudden surge of overuse of tomato pesticides.

Syngenta insecticides for controlling Tuta Absoluta

Syngenta is a multinational company that has dealt with Tuta Absoluta in other countries before it arrived in Zimbabwe. Their representative enlightened me to some of their products that are also assisting in the control of Tuta Absoluta. These are Ampligo 150 ZC and Trigard 75 WPF. I asked him to explain the difference between Trigard and Cyramazine. He said the brand Trigard is original and not generic and Cyramazine is one of the ingredient in Trigard. There is a huge difference in prices between Cyramazine and Trigard. I bought Cyramazine for about $4 and Trigard cost $34.50 per 200g. I needed to understand, so I could share information with tomato growers. Trigard targets leaf minors, including Tuta Absoluta; it is systemic and needs to be sprayed from bottom going upwards at first sign of infestation — 12g per knapsack or 150g per hectare in 180 to 200l of water. It is good for vegetables, potatoes and ornamentals. Furthermore, other than vegetables, Ampligo is also sprayed on tobacco at first sign of infestation. For vegetables, including tomatoes, application rate is 30ml per knapsack or 400ml per hectare in 180 to 200l of water. Cost is $37,50 per 250ml. Both chemicals Ampligo and Trigard have three days withholding period, meaning if you spray today you can harvest three days later.

Intaba Trading can be reached at their offices at No. 30 Sandringham Drive, Alexandra Park, Harare.

Other chemical companies dealing in pesticides can also reach me, so that we educate farmers on the use of your products as well.

Last season, tomatoes flooded the market. But the arrival of Tuta Absoluta was a game changer and prices have gone up. I went to Mbare as I was buying wire for trellising my tomatoes and suddenly I was surrounded by vendors who wanted to know where my tomato field was, as well as when I was harvesting.

I created a tomato WhatsApp group; those interested can request to join on the number shown below.

This week in our nursery, we have the following seedlings; cabbage star 3316, beetroot, green pepper eggplant and gooseberry.

Happy gardening week! Let’s pray for the rains as we are eagerly waiting.

Doreen Mutobaya Badze is a retired nurse and passion-driven gardener. She can be reached on Cell: 0779 730 880 or 16 Metcalf Road, Greendale, Harare. Email: dbadze4@gmail.com

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