Zimbabwe Suspends Potato Imports From SA Due To Pepper ringspot
By Yvonne Mutambwa
THE Government has suspended imports of potatoes and related products from South Africa after a pepper ringspot virus was detected in the neighbouring country.
The move comes after the National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa detected the pepper ringspot virus in potato cultivars.
The government says the suspension of potato imports from South Africa is meant to protect local farmers and the region from the virus which renders the crop unmarketable if left uncontrolled.
“We received a report of a new virus in South Africa called paper ring sport virus which is affecting potatoes in South Africa, we are really on the watch because that might also affect our potatoes and potato farmers.
We will restrict from now the importation of potatoes so we can protect our farmers from the ringspot virus as we do further assessments,” said the Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri.
A team of experts has since been dispatched to South Africa to assess the situation.
These nematodes feed on the roots of infected plants and can transmit the virus to healthy plants.