The tomato industry in Morocco is currently enduring one of its worst seasons, suffering the full brunt of commercial challenges and natural hazards. Among these hazards and not the least, the phytosanitary damage - namely the ToBRFV virus - is behind the loss of 10-15% of volumes this season, according to growers' representatives.
It is in this context that Vilmorin-Mikado Atlas unveiled, in March 2023, new tomato varieties resistant to ToBRFV. Karima El Alami, Communications & Product Promotion Officer at the seeds company, said, "Given the serious damage caused by this disease, Moroccan tomato producers were waiting for reliable solutions that would help them protect their crops against it. Our announcement came as good news and was very much welcomed by the tomato industry actors in Morocco."
"The launching of the new varieties crowns a long development work that lasted 5 years," adds Karima, "After long efforts, we are presently in the home stretch with the varieties being registered by the National Office for Food Fafety and ready for commercialization."
Mohamed Chari, Product Development Manager of Vilmorin-Mikado Atlas, explains the technical specs of the new varieties: "The two varieties we are launching are the CURIOSO F1 and INTUITIVO F1 cherry tomatoes. They are segments of the round cherry and can be used for two purposes: bunching and individual harvest, depending on the density adopted by the grower. In the trials organized last year and others in progress this year, the varieties have shown very good behavior in terms of yield and fruit quality, as well as in terms of firmness and conservation. For these two new varieties, we have kept the characteristics of our market-leading varieties such as GENIO-INTUITIVO F1, and in addition, we have incorporated resistance to ToBRFV."
Mohamed continues, "The variety CURIOSO F1 is a strong plant, with good vigor and good leaf coverage, it always keeps its continuation, a nice bunch, with a fresh stalk, which preserves its freshness for distant destinations, and the novelty is the resistance to ToBRFV. As for INTUITIVO F1, the plant is well balanced, with a very good leaf/fruit ratio, and a better quality of the fruit, the color is well confirmed, firmness and conservation, with, of course, the resistance to ToBRFV."
The unveiling of the new varieties took place in Agadir, stronghold of the Moroccan tomato industry, with the participation of all stakeholders, according to Karima. "Our first Tomato Seminar was held at the Technology Transfer Center on March 8, 2023, in Agadir. The objective of this open day was to present our commercial varieties, as well as our new varieties resistant to the ToBRFV virus, to the actors of the tomato sector. This event brought together nearly 150 participants: producers, exporters, nurseries, members of ONSSA (the National Office for Food Safety), members of FNIS (National Interprofessional Federation of Seeds and Plants), and business leaders of APEFEL (Moroccan association of fruit and vegetable producers). Our experts engaged during the seminar by addressing producers' issues and allowing them to experience a unique opportunity to discuss their concerns around two exchange sessions, namely, the ToBRFV and the Food Chain."
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Karima El Alami & Mohamed Chari