Zimbabwe researchers identify potato virus in tobacco crop

Tobacco Crop Piyachok ThawornmatZimbabwe's Tobacco Research Board have found a strain of Potato Virus Y in the tobacco crop. (Image source: Piyachok Thawornmat)Researchers at Zimbabwe's Tobacco Research Board (TRB) have identified a virulent necrotic strain of Potato Virus Y (PVY), which could destroy up to 90 per cent of a crop strain in the tobacco crop

Joseph Made, Zimbabwe's minister of agriculture, mechanisation and irrigation, said that the virus was one of the most prevalent diseases spread by aphids, which feed on regrowths from undestroyed tobacco stalks.

According to Made, there are some challenges that have arisen as a result of knowledge gaps amongst tobacco growers.

"Amid some of these challenges is the issue of failure to observe tobacco cultivation legislation," Made stated.

The minister explained that the majority of new entrants in the tobacco industry do not take note of legislative issues, which are aimed at restricting incidences and spread of insect borne viruses of tobacco.

"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," Made said.

Wallace Mawire

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