Potato virus identified in tobacco crop (Zimbabwe)

Tobacco Research Board (TRB) researchers in Zimbabwe have identified a virulent necrotic strain of Potato Virus Y (PVY), which has the ability to destroy up to 90% of a  tobacco crop. According to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture, mechanisation and irrigation development, Joseph Made, the virus was one of the most prevalent diseases spread by aphids, which feed on regrowths from undestroyed tobacco stalks. He said, there were some challenges that arose as a result of knowledge gaps among tobacco growers. “Amid these challenges is the issue of failure to observe tobacco cultivation legislation,” he added further explaining that most of the new entrants in the tobacco industry did not take note of legislative issues, aimed at restricting incidences and spread of insect-borne viruses of tobacco. Made concluded that “Non-adherence to the legislation related to stalk destruction, planting of seed beds and planting into the lands could all have a catastrophic effect on our vibrant tobacco industry.”- Africafarming.net