17:50 GMT28 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): 2020 has already been rough year for planet earth. Starting with the destructive Australian bush fire the spring went on to give us locust swarms, the coronavirus pandemic and now an “unidentified virus” is coming after crops in India.

    Tomato crops in the Indian state of Maharashtra have reportedly been infested with an unknown virus, causing the vegetables to rot within hours of being plucked from plants.

    As much as 60 percent of the tomatoes plucked in Ahmednagar, Pune and Nashik have been affected and destroyed by the virus in 10 days. 

    ​The farmers are upset and worried that their hard work is going to waste, and have pinned the blame on seed-sellers. However, Bhuwan Bhaskar, an agricultural expert told Sputnik nothing can yet be confirmed because this has “never happened before”.

    “If the seeds were the problem, why did the problem not occur in other areas and crops? The farmers are already struggling with all kinds of odds due to a nationwide lockdown and at this time, such a strange disease which has in fact no recorded history, has come as another shock. Getting into the root of the problem and taking preventive measures is something which will take time,” said Bhaskar.

    The test samples that need to reach national level labs are being looked at in local agricultural colleges because of the lockdown. Agricultural experts along with government officials are studying the infection in Ahmednagar’s local agro-university Mahatama Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth.

    As of now, no conclusive answer has been derived. It also remains unclear if this “unidentified virus” could spread to other crops or if it could pose damage to the quality of soil.

    “The occurrence which has come to the notice in Maharashtra is very unfortunate but until something substantial is not figured out, the government needs to help farmers to the best of its abilities,” Bhaskar added.

     

    Tags:
    Pakistan, agriculture, crops, coronavirus, COVID-19, Australia, Maharashtra, tomatoes, India, 2020
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