The potato ‘virus Y’ is spreading fast within Mashonaland Central Province with tobacco farmers in Guruve counting losses.

Several hectares of tobacco are under threat from the virus which is likely to affect yields while also affecting foreign currency projections by the central bank this season.

The virus requires farmers to uproot the affected plants which might leave some farmers with nothing to harvest amid calls by the Tobacco Research Board acting head of division plant health services Dr Cleopas Chinheya for farmers to stick to the planting dates of the crop to avoid breeding of the virus.

Tobacco is one of the country’s foreign currency earner and depleted yields means government has to dig deeper to meet the gap.