Sicilian courgettes affected by New Delhi virus

Drought and New Delhi virus - this is is what is currently affecting open-field courgettes in south-eastern Sicily. "We have had no rain since April and, as if this wasn't enough, we lost 25% of the crop due to the virus. All infected plants must be uprooted so yields should be low," explains a producer. 

The disease seems similar to the one detected in Spain. "This virus appeared this year and we are organising a visit to see how the Spanish deal with it. So far, we have installed anti-aphid nets and uprooted infected plants."

According to the producer, the hot humid weather facilitated the diffusion of the virus, though it is not yet clear how it progresses. Open-field courgettes are cultivated between late August and early November. Then it is the turn of those in polytunnels and greenhouses until March/April. From a commercial point of view, prices should be higher due precisely to this lack in supply.

"I'm not sure what will happen if the weather stays like this. The only certain thing is that, because of the drought in some south-eastern areas, less peppers have been planted, though production should be in line with past years. Tomato production should be lower, especially considering last season."

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