The presence of Pepino Mosiac Virus (PepMV) at a South Auckland commercial tomato property was confirmed in September, taking the number of confirmed sites to five. These sites are all still able to sell fruit.
TomatoesNZ is working with MPI on a transition to long-term management plan. Projects include:
- Crate hygiene – looking at the potential to develop and implement a best practice hygiene standard for crates.
- Irrigation water testing to detect PepMV – a proposed MPI-led science project developing a method to detect PepMV and other pathogens in greenhouses, similar to the way Covid-19 is detected in wastewater.
- Impact assessment – for crops that have the virus in NZ
- Mild Strain Inoculation (“Vaccine”)for PepMV - overseas, this is one of the methods used to manage the virus. It is currently being worked through what regulatory process would be required to import the vaccine.
- Nursery plant assurance – adoption of a virus hygiene plan for tomato and capsicum nurseries.
- Slowing the spread – advice on keeping the virus out of greenhouses, removing the virus from an infected greenhouse, and preventing dispersal from infected greenhouses.
- Surveillance & testing – looking into providing growers with an industry-funded end-of-crop testing service.
- Understanding and cataloging the NZ variant
- De-regulation - PepMV is currently a notifiable, unwanted organism. De-regulation needs to be carefully considered as it has import (seed) and export (market access) implications that need to be weighed up carefully.
- Export Market Access – export access to Japan has re-opened, and work is underway on re-opening the important Australia and Pacific Islands export markets.