Rijk-Zwaan's ToBRFV-resistant tomato varieties exceed expectations

Rijk-Zwaan's ToBRFV-resistant tomato varieties exceed expectations
Photo: Rijk Zwaan

The tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is affecting growers almost everywhere in the world, and southern Europe is no exception. That’s why, with a great sense of urgency, Rijk Zwaan launched tomato varieties with Rugose Defense for mid-tech growers last year. ″The results have exceeded our expectations – and we will keep on moving forward. Non-resistant varieties are no longer in scope,″ states Crop Coordinator Tomato and Rootstocks David Herzog. Rugose Defense is one of the topics Rijk Zwaan is addressing at Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

All production areas are hit

ToBRFV is a huge challenge in all Mediterranean countries. After starting in Sicily, the virus spread very quickly. Less than three years later, all production areas in Italy, Spain and Morocco had been hit. David: ″There’s no official data, and the situation varies between the different growing regions, but based on our own estimations the virus is present in between 10% and 80% of the greenhouses. The virus causes both a decline in the quality and a decrease in the commercial production per square metre.″

Varieties with Rugose Defense in all segments

To tackle this problem, the Rijk Zwaan team soon found new, unique genetics resulting in a high resistance level to ToBRFV. The company launched a range of varieties with Rugose Defense, including varieties for mid-tech/protected conditions in southern Europe. ″Last year, we introduced two cherry tomato varieties and one cocktail tomato variety. And this year, we added varieties with Rugose Defense in almost all market segments, from mini-plum to beef tomatoes. Besides the high resistance to ToBRFV, they all have the package of other resistances needed in this region,″ adds David.

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