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Tomato virus puts farmers in financial ruin

Farmers have expressed serious concern about the imported virus spreading to Malta, which could destroy the most important tomato sector.

Ruben Montebello, a full-time farmer who has been farming away from the tourism industry for the past decade, has lost five greenhouses of tomatoes due to ToBRFV (Tomato Brown Legos Fruit Virus) contamination. The farmers’ union Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi has appealed to the authorities to do everything in their power to contain the virus in order to limit its “social damage”.

Montebello explained how tomato crops did not begin to develop symptoms before they realized that they were contaminated and needed to be destroyed. “We had to stop production immediately after the Department of Plant Hygiene took samples from the crops towards the end of April and the results were confirmed earlier this month,” said Montebello.

Montebello believes that the costs incurred by the losses incurred so far have already outweighed the overall negative decline caused by COVID-19 over the past year. He warned that without government support and compensation, it would not be possible to recover. “There are so many challenges in front of us that even a very strong push cannot be accomplished without some form of help to soften the blow,” said Montebello. The agricultural community does not yet have a complete picture of the problem, as many tests are still underway.

Malcolm Borg, coordinator of Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, said containment measures should be socially sensitive, especially for farmers who are completely dependent on tomatoes. “For example, if we can eliminate 1,000 plants at a time instead of 3,000, we can minimize the initial impact,” he added.

Read the full article at www.timesofmalta.com.

Tomato virus puts farmers in financial ruin

Source link Tomato virus puts farmers in financial ruin

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