Mumbai: Even as Indian reels under the Covid-19 effect, another unknown virus has invaded the tomato crop in Maharashtra. About 60 per cent of the crop in the State has been destroyed in the last 10 days.
Agricultural Experts at the local agriculture university, are studying the reasons for the outbreak along with State government officials but the virus remains unidentified, The Hindu newspaper has reported.
The depressed farmers are blaming companies for allegedly selling diseased seeds. Farmers fear that if this viral attack is not controlled then it could spread to other crops. They said they would like the government to advice on what precautionary steps should have been taken or could be taken now.
Due to the lockdown, the samples of the diseased tomatoes are not reaching national laboratories for further scientific analysis. But the local farmers named this disease ‘Tiranga’ because of the visible symptoms. The plant leaves are drying up fast and tomatoes are developing irregular shapes and colour, ripening prematurely and losing their sap.
Tomato farmer Suresh Navale from Ahmednagar district said that his crop, planted in early March over 2.25 acres, has been destroyed.
Social media and local TV channels creating fear among people by naming the virus as Tiranga or Red virus and regarding it as more dangerous than coronavirus.
The fact is that this tomato virus and its effects on human health are not known as yet.