A pest commonly known as the tomato leafminer moth (tuta absoluta) is threatening tomato crops in the western Greek region of Preveza, growers warned on Tuesday.
According to early estimates of the damaged caused by the voracious pest that originates in South America, more than 1,000 tons of tomatoes were destroyed in the month of July alone.
“You won’t find a greenhouse or producer that is not experiencing a serious problem,” the president of the Preveza fruit and vegetable growers’ association, Dimitris Kavvadas, told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Tuesday. “Crops have been destroyed before they could even enter the production phase.”
Following a meeting with regional authorities, Kavvadas called on the government to introduce emergency measures to stop the spread of the pest, which, he warned, is extremely prolific and multiplies at a rapid pace in warm temperatures.
“The more the population grows, the more uncontrollable the situation will become,” said Kavvadas. “The pest has already afflicted the new crop, which started in late July.”
Preveza has an estimated 500 greenhouse tomato producers and hundreds more who grow the crop in the open air. The association recently signed a deal with a Dubai-based company to export some 100 tons of tomatoes to the United Arab Emirates.