Belgium's Agricultural and Fishery Department is allocating €4.5 million. That is for innovative, renewed agricultural and horticultural projects. It has approved 46 such projects. Practical support and gaining knowledge about the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) will receive part of this grant.
The PraKeTo operational group wants to reduce the ToBRFV's impact. It is affecting the country's tomato cultivation. They aim to do so from September 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022. They want to limit major production losses. And control ToBRFV on Flemish tomato farms.
This group will set up a working group. Its members will exchange know-how and practical experience. That should stimulate interaction between the sector and research. The sector's central needs will also be discussed. The group includes not only six tomato growers.
These are both infected and non-infected growers, the project coordinator emphasizes. There are also representatives from all Flemish vegetable cooperatives. As well as from three practical centers and a research laboratory. There will be a virus specialist too.
Previously and currently infected farms will be guided. They must take adequate measures against the virus. This guidance includes analyses. It will gather information on this virus. And it will map its spread within the company.
The operational group will focus on gaining knowledge. They will analyze field samples. They will also examine virus distribution, incubation period, and disinfection's effect. A symptom database is being put together. Growers can refer to this. Early detection tools will be developed too. So, farmers can monitor the situation preventively. Finally, dissemination to the entire sector is an important aspect. All farmers must be aware of PraKeTo's most recent developments.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries sent out a call - 'project support for agricultural innovations'. That resulted in 48 applications from farmers. Of these, 30 were selected. The department based its selection on certain criteria. That included innovation, sustainability, feasibility, and cooperation. You can see all the selected applications (in Dutch) here.
The department received 44 project proposals for European Innovation Partnerships. Thus, operational groups. The project ideas largely originated with farmers themselves. They are closely involved in the innovation process. That will ensure that these ideas are quickly adopted in practice. Sixteen projects from various partnerships received grants. The projects typically last two years and will end no later than early 2024. See all these projects (again, In Dutch) here.
Source: Departement Landbouw & Visserij