The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria says it has obtained samples and commenced investigations on the new virus disease attacking Okra plants across the country.
Prof. Mohammed-Faguji Ishiyaku, Executive Director of the institute made this known on Sunday in Zaria.
Ishiyaku said that the samples were being cultured at the institute’s laboratories with a view to identifying the real virus and insect involved in the transmission of the disease.
The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) had detected a new virus disease attacking Okra plants across the country resulting in more than 70 per cent loss of okra plants.
Ishiyaku said on receipt of the report, the institute sent its scientists round to assess the situation in Kaduna State and other places.
“ The disease is an epidemic because it is prevalent across the country and the immediate assessment based on our scientists’ expertise also confirmed the strange disease to be a viral infection.
“From scientific findings, such viral disease was transmitted by some insects (vectors); unfortunately unlike bacterial or fungal disease viral infections don’t have chemical control measures,’’ he said.
The executive director said the interim solution was to spray the okra field with insecticides that would control the insects such that the disease would not spread to additional fields.
Ishiyaku however said that the fruits produced by these infected okra are healthy for consumption.
He advised the farmers to clean their fields with chemicals before the next farming season and obtain their seeds from healthy sources.