Professor Mohammed Kabiru Yakubu is the Director of research coordination and the acting D.G. of National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria. In this exclusive chat with AgroNigeria in Zaria, he speaks on Tuta Absoluta pesticide development.
Sir can you tell us more about your research on developing a pesticide on the Tuta Absoluta moth?
We started the research on Neem based-biocides before the commencement of the current administration, the current DG under whom I serve. There was a project that was sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria, we call it The Neem Project and out of that research we were able to develop neem based fertilizer and also extract neem based oil and also a bio-active chemical substance called Azadirachtin. This Azadirachtin is a biocide; it is a highly effective pesticide against so many pests including Tuta absoluta. The bio-chemical substance Azadirachtin is about 0.6% percent in the neem kernel and it also is from the neem kernel we produce the oil and the residue we then use in the production of fertilizer. The efficacy of Azadirachtin on Tuta absoluta has been proven and well documented internationally. Right now we have a Committee that would optimize the process for the extraction of Azadirachtin so as to be able to cater for needs of the country. We are are working in collaboration with the National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) for the field trials.
The pest is a miner and is also known for its ability to quickly develop resistance to chemical pesticides, has this fact been taken into consideration in research?
That research is ongoing and currently we use emulsifiers and surface active agents that could go into the crevices of plants so I don’t think that would be problem with the formulation that we will come out with eventually.
The Bio-based fertilizer which we developed in NARICT using the Neem is the same source we extract the Azadirachtin from and those that use it have told us that they don’t have problem with Tuta absoluta at all.