Since the appearance of the virus and its spread to more than 35 countries, the tomato industry has changed, leading to the search for solutions such as new phytosanitary protocols, additional labour, and increased crop rotation. However, these measures have proved to be insufficient to mitigate the impact of the virus. When the virus first appeared, Enza Zaden began research work to identify a gene that would provide resistance to Rugoso so that it could develop resistant varieties. This research has been successful in the form of High Rough Resistance (HREZ) varieties, which also offer great flavour, colour, postharvest behaviour and yield.
The gene is found in the varieties marketed under the HREZ seal, varieties adapted to the different productive areas that guarantee the standards required by consumers in terms of flavour and quality. Enza Zaden, as a global company, works to improve by taking into account the entire value chain and the specific needs of production areas. A good example of this is how the seed company has introduced its Rugoso resistant varieties to the market; varieties that make a difference. The HREZ varieties allow farmers to return to producing when they used to, achieving the quality and high yields of before. Similarly, supermarkets can ensure continuous supply and homogeneous quality thus giving consumers what they demand. HREZ is a seal that allows the tomato industry to look to the future with confidence regardless of the geographical area in which it is located.
The HREZ varieties act in such a way that when a virus particle enters a plant, the cells around the virus die and consequently the virus does too, thus the virus does not multiply and the plant is not a source of infection. With other sources of resistance, the virus slows down its spread, but it does not disappear, and therefore the concentration of virus in the crop continues to grow and the plants continue to be the focus of infection, leading to production losses, post-harvest problems with the fruits and greater uncertainty for future campaigns as the virus might mutate.
It can now be said that the varieties of the present and the future must have a gene with HREZ resistance in order to allow all stakeholders in the industry to look to the future with confidence. And that is where Enza Zaden is providing the solutions with a complete portfolio of commercial varieties in the main types of tomato with resistance to the Rugoso virus.
It should be noted that according to data from the beginning of 2023, there are more than 1,000 hectares of HREZ varieties worldwide. Growers in the Netherlands, Morocco, Canada, Spain and Mexico, as well as in other areas, can now take advantage of these tomato varieties. For this campaign, an exponential growth of the HREZ surface is expected, which, together with the recommended phytosanitary measures, is the only solution available in the industry to effectively fight against the virus, since it provides protection and prevents its spread.