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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Understanding the Global Virus Distribution in Tomato and Development of Translational Genomic Tools to Accelerate Breeding for Resistance

Location: Vegetable Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Specific objective is to provide a benefit-cost analysis of preventing or reducing viral diseases affecting tomato crops.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Dr. Carter, Professor and Director of Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, University of California, Davis, has previously studied the international market for tomato products. He has also modeled the introduction of new technology in agriculture and measured the economic impact of that technology. In addition, Dr. Carter has experience developing bio economic models (e.g., for strawberries), with expertise in international trade modeling. Dr. Carter has over 30 years of experience modeling commodity markets and is responsible for developing the economic models of the California lettuce and strawberry industries. These skills are highly relevant to the economic modeling of viral diseases in tomatoes. Specifically in the present project, in conjunction with partner seed companies and other Co-PIs, Dr. Carter will gather data on important tomato diseases to allow us to develop a bioeconomic model of the development and spread of these diseases. The diseases will be treated as a biological invasion for modeling purposes. This modeling will allow us to determine the key human and market factors that impact the spreading of diseases in tomatoes. Policy options available for controlling these diseases can then be simulated with the bioeconomic model. The benefit/cost analysis of alternative forms of control or management strategies to limit the impact of the disease will involve combining the bioeconomic model with a more traditional economic model of the world tomato industry. The global model is necessary given the importance of international trade in tomato products. The global model will be developed through gathering data on production, costs, demand, inventories, and international trade for the major players in the world market for the tomato products. Site visits will be made to China and Europe to gather the most accurate and comprehensive data available. Once the model is constructed it will be shocked with counter-factual scenarios to measure the benefits-costs of preventing/reducing tomato viral diseases.

3. Progress Report:
The research in this subordinate project relates to inhouse project Objective 1: Develop sensitive diagnostic tools for the emerging viral diseases of greenhouse tomatoes and bacterial diseases on vegetable Brassicas. Our specific objective in this subordinate project is to provide a benefit-cost analysis of the prevention or reduction of viral diseases affecting tomato crops. Two modeling components will contribute to this analysis. We will develop a bioeconomic model of tomato diseases. We will also develop a global trade model because the tomato market in the United States is heavily impacted by global market activities. Our model will be used to evaluate policy options to control tomato diseases. Developing this model requires substantial data. We are pursuing several sources. This past April, we met with the project director from ARS to better coordinate our plans for the economic model for his work. He described his past and current work on tomato diseases and helped us to understand that plant pathology will be a key to accurate economic modeling. The graduate student involved in the project accompanied the project director on visits to several major U.S. vegetable seed companies providing samples and support for the project. Speaking with the plant pathologists gave us a starting point for the scope of the diseases to be included in the model and the specific concerns the industry has. We also established contact with management at several of the companies to learn more about their industry. This provided links to local industry groups, as well as, references to the American Seed Trade Association and the International Seed Federation. Working with these institutions will help us incorporate seed health, quality, and phytosanitary requirements into our developing model. Tomatoes are the second most important vegetable crop in the world after potatoes, and tomato seeds are traded globally, therefore our model must account for imports and exports around the world. Global Trade Information Services, Inc. (GTI) publishes monthly official government trade statistics for more than eighty countries. We are working to gain access to this database to incorporate this highly detailed trade information into our model to estimate key supply and demand parameters.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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