THE STATE agriculture department has sent samples of affected tomato plants to Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Horticulture Research to identify an “unknown” virus wreaking havoc in the crop. On its part, the Pune zilla parishad has sought the help of agriculture scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Narayangaon, to minimise losses to farmers.
Since early April, rabi or summer tomato growers from the state have reported that the fruit is ripening earlier than usual, which is seriously undermining its yield. For every half-ripe green tomato they harvested, around 10 early matured yellow tomatoes had to be discarded. This problem was reported from Satara, Ahmednagar and other tomato growing areas of the state.
This disease has caused great distress among farmers as the crop has not responded to any known treatment. The lockdown has also affected movement of farmers and scientists from various agricultural universities to identify the cause of disease. Suhas Diwase, while speaking to The Indian Express, said they had sent a special vehicle with samples to the Bengaluru-based institute to identify the causative organism of the present disease. “Once the reports come, we will finalise our future strategy,” he said.
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