The ToBRFV emergency has hit the Italian territory as well. An interview with Cristiano Guerresi, general director of HM.CLAUSE Italia, revealed a few key points that need the attention of the entire tomato segment.
Origin and speed of transmission
The gravity of the pathology needs to be understood and accepted. The virus truly modified tomato production. Israel has become an importer while it used to be an exporter and it was the first country where the pathology was identified in 2014, although the bibliography reports it being identified in Jordan in 2015."
"When the pathogen arrived on the Dead Sea - in an area 280 meters below sea level covering 50 x 15 km - it basically affected 100% of the production within 3 months. In that area filled with crops, the evolution curve was quick and intense due to the extreme ease of transmission. In Jordan, the pathology transferred to secondary cultivation for summer cycles, around 80 km from the previous area, as labor moved between greenhouses."
Dissemination all over the world
The virus is also found in Mexico with an identical infection scheme due to the slow reaction in adopting countermeasures.
The US, and California in particular, also reported being affected by ToBRFV and there is also a case in Germany, where the pathology is currently being eradicated. There are suspect cases in other countries. The pathology is transmitted mechanically, so man is the main vector.
The case of Sicily, but time is running out
"If personnel moves between companies, the risk of contamination increases. Luckily, in Sicily, personnel movements are rather limited so there is the hope that, if operators work properly especially in the 2-3 months when greenhouses are empty, the problem may be controlled."
"If good cleaning, hygiene and disinfection practices are followed, the new cycle could be healthy and therefore the transmission of the virus could be blocked. Companies must remain healthy and prevent the pathology from entering by implementing the correct measures."
Videointerview with Cristiano Guerresi:
Give the correct perception to the markets
"It would be wrong to give the markets and the whole chain the perception that operators are not active in countering the pathology. Competent bodies must do their part, we all share the responsibility of doing something."
"HM.CLAUSE aims at transferring good practices that involve all those looking to safeguard such an important shared good - table tomatoes, strategic for the region and the entire national food segment. Sicilian companies must not feel alone, they need to know the pathology can be countered and that they can get in touch with companies such as HM.CLAUSE to manage a good prophylaxis."