A disease has hit New Zealand’s tomato crops which has caused a stop to exports and a loss of revenue.
Pepino mosaci virus (PepMV) – which can affect the size of plants and delay fruit growth – was found in an Auckland greenhouse in April. It has now spread to three other commercial sites.
The virus is highly contagious and can be spread on crates, tools, clothing, and by bumble bees. It is already found in China, parts of Europe and the Americas,
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has notified Australia, Japan, Thailand, Fiji, Tonga, and New Caledonia about the disease affecting New Zealand tomatoes.
So far six countries have stopped importing our tomatoes as a result. However, tomatoes can still be exported to countries which do not consider PepMV a quarantine concern.
The government is trying to prevent the spread of the disease and ascertain the scale of the problem. A vaccine to control the virus was available to tomato growers.