In 2020, Enza Zaden announced that it had discovered the gene for high resistance to the devastating tomato brown rugose virus. Two years later, the seed company already has a complete portfolio of different types of highly resistant tomato varieties. This was the message that stood out the most at the World Tomato Congress, one of the sector's most important professional events, held recently in the Spanish municipality of Campohermoso, in Almeria.
Since 2014, when the virus was first detected in Israel, the ToBRFV has spread very rapidly in the Middle East, Mexico, China, and Europe, also reaching Spain.
In his presentation during the congress, Kees Konst, Tomato Crop Research director, said that "only high resistance can stop the spread of the virus. The more highly resistant varieties are planted, the closer we will be to eradicating the virus, both in Spain and the rest of the world."
This was also the main topic discussed in a round table with various professionals from the sector, in which Carlos Herrerías, Product Manager for Solanaceae at Enza Zaden, participated.
After the debate between experts, it became clear that the only solution to fight the virus is the combination of planting highly-resistant varieties and adhering to strict sanitary protocols, such as the daily disinfection of tools or the use of single-use clothing, among other measures.
Enza Zaden already has a portfolio of varieties with high resistance, which is making it possible for growers to prepare for the next season. "We think it is crucial to plan ahead and be ready for the winter harvest. We know what the virus situation is in summer, but we don't know how it will evolve. It is necessary to act preventively to guarantee the production and supply," says Herrerías.
Another essential meeting for professionals in the sector will be organized in May in The Hague: the Global Tomato Congress, where Enza Zaden will continue to provide more information about its resistant varieties.