Did you know that the Tuta absoluta has invaded several tomato-producing regions worldwide? Tuta absoluta (tomato leafminer) is a plant pest of tomatoes and other plants in the Solanaceae family. It is native to South America and the tomato leafminers lay eggs on the underside of leaves. Once these eggs hatch, larvae penetrate and make irregular-sized mines in leaves, stems, and aerial fruits in which they feed and develop. Tomato leafminers drop to the ground once fully fed in order to pupate in the soil.

In the Caribbean, the Tuta absoluta tabletop exercise was recently held in Grenada. The exercise was done to plan a full-scale response, should plant pests like the Tuta absoluta cause damage to the agriculture sector. Through the Caribbean Plant Health Director Forum Annual meeting, updates on threats of priority and emerging pests were received from Technical Working Groups, Partner Agencies, and leading technical experts.
Tuta absoluta has spread to over 41 African counties, affecting tomato crop production in Zambia and Kenya. Around 114,000 tons of crop in Kenya, worth around $59.3 million, and 10,700 tons of crop in Zambia, are estimated to cost $8.7 million US in economic losses respectively.

Pesticides have been the method of control for Tuta absoluta. Farmers used 97.6% of pesticides in Zambia, with farmers in Kenya using 96.5%. Chemical control is the primary management control method for this invasive species. More information on the Tuta absoluta can be found in the Tuta absoluta portal which contains a selection of videos, practical extension materials, research, and news that is available.

Read more from our sources below!


Hortidaily – Grenada holds tabletop simulation exercise for tomato leaf miner

CABI – Tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta): Impacts and coping strategies for Africa

CABI – Tomato leafminer portal

Idtools – Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Academic.oup – Sustainable Management of the Invasive Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): an Overview of Case Studies From Latin American Countries Participating in Plantwise

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States – 14th Annual Meeting of Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum (CPHD) Ends