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Last update : July 2024
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Plant Protection Events



Info Day on IPM and Farmer Field School Approaches for Cucurbits and Tomato

Kairouan, Tunisia, April 25, 2024

Organized by INRAT as a National Partner of the Project GeMed-Prima Supported by the PRIMA2018-00090 Section 2-GeMed Project and Funded by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MERST)


General presentation: As part of the GeMed-Prima project titled "Prevention and Control of New and Invasive Geminiviruses Infecting Vegetables in the Mediterranean", coordinated by Prof. Michel Peterschmitt (CIRAD France) and led in Tunisia by Professor Monia Mnari-Hattab of the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRAT), a dedicated info day was convened on April 25, 2024, at the Headquarters of the Regional Union of Agriculture and Fisheries in Kairouan. This event aimed to raise awareness about the hard watermelon syndrome, covering its etiology, epidemiology across various vegetable species, and transmission by insect vectors.

Objectives of the info day: (1) to disseminate the results obtained at present on the virus responsible for hard watermelon syndrome, its etiology, and epidemiology on vegetables; (2) to alert farmers and agricultural companies in advance on the methods of managing leafhoppers vectoring of the concerned virus, to reduce the impact of this virus on watermelon, tomato and pepper crops.
The info day featured two key presentations: "The Virus responsible of Hard Watermelon Syndrome and Epidemiology in vegetable species", and "Virus-vector Leafhoppers and Prevention Strategies." presented by Prof. Monia Mnari Hattab and Prof. Ikbal Chaieb, respectively. More than 93 individuals from various fields attended the event.

Project information: the project focuses on tomatoes and cucurbits, prominent vegetables in the Mediterranean ranking second and third after potatoes in cultivation. Their year-round intensive production and limited cultivar diversity make them susceptible to pathogen invasions, particularly viruses. Geminiviruses pose significant concerns due to their economic impact, frequent introduction of new exotic species into the Mediterranean region, and the continual emergence of potentially invasive strains through recombination, weakening resistance mechanisms. The GeMed project's primary objectives include enhancing understanding of the ecology of new and potentially invasive geminiviruses, analyzing epidemic patterns of recombinant geminiviruses through field studies, studying plant-virus interactions, and developing integrated control strategies. These strategies involve utilizing plant-origin metabolites against insect vectors and RNA vaccination of cultivated plants to combat viruses.


Report of Prof. Sonia Bouhachem
INRAT, University of Carthage, Tunis



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