Morocco

Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus outbreak hits Morocco

The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) has reported the first ever outbreak of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) in Morocco.

In its latest New Diseases Reports (NDRs) bulletin, the BSPP said the ToLCNDV outbreak, which was detected in 2017, threatens Moroccan production of cucurbit and Solanaceae crop plants.

Cucurbit plants include wax gourd, watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and courgettes, while the Solanaceae plant family includes tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and potatoes.

The report said although ToLCNDV originated in Asia, it spread to the Mediterranean regional countries that include in Spain, Italy and Tunisia between 2014 and 2016.

“Disease symptoms resembling those described from Spain and Italy and attributed to ToLCNDV were observed in zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) crops growing in the Agadir and Taroudant regions of Morocco in 2017.

Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus. Photo: British Society for Plant Pathology

“The incidence of disease was significant, with severe yellow mosaic symptoms accompanied by leaf curling and roughness of the fruit skin. The infected plants had smaller and fewer fruits when compared to healthy ones, and in most cases, fruit bursting was observed. To our knowledge, this is the first case of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus in Morocco,” the report reads.

Morocco produces an estimated output of 7 million tonnes of cucurbit and Solanaceae plant crops annually. Of this, nearly 750 000 tons are for export to markets in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

ToLNCDV has been blamed for the drop in global production of cucurbit and Solanaceae crops after the devastating outbreaks in major producers Italy, Spain and Tunisia over the past 3 years.

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