Tennen - Calling it "the worst agricultural disaster in the Citadel since the State's independence," Caldari newswires are reporting that some 90% of the harvest on the agricultural world of Tennen VI has been wiped out by a virulent blight in less than a month. As Hyasyoda crop scientists scramble to respond, most of the farms and food processing facilities on the planet and in the system have been shut down. The Caldari Business Tribunal's customs authority has ordered a quarantine of the planet until the disease is contained in order to prevent its spread.
Hyasyoda corporate headquarters is downplaying the situation, calling it an "unfortunate development" and assuring investors that it is only temporary. "Corporate geneticists and agricultural pharmacologists are already working on a vaccine for the disease, which should be ready in a matter of weeks," continued their statement.
Experts at the School of Applied Knowledge have expressed alarm at the blight, noting that Hyasyoda - like most corporate farming operations - uses genetically engineered hybrids carefully designed to be resistant to disease. "To have a modern faming operation of this nature struck so hard by disease is nearly unheard of. Generally, we only see outbreaks of this nature on poorly-developed, newly-colonized planets where the crops have not been properly engineered or a hostile environment reduces their resistance," said Dr. Oziki Tammesaiken, professor of agronomy and agricultural engineering at SAK's Korsiki campus.
While Hyasyoda has dismissed Dr. Tammesaiken's statement as "hyperbole," rumors persist that, privately, many Hyasyoda scientists and intelligence personnel believe there's a considerable chance the disease was an engineered virus specifically designed to target the Hyasyoda hybrids. In recent months, tensions have been high between Hyasyoda and Sukuuvestaa in the area, and a number of incidents consistent with corporate espionage have been reported by both corporations to the CBT, activity common prior to escalation of this sort. The rumors have been further emboldened by the arrival of an additional Corporate Police Force contingent in the Tennen system, including a team of forensic investigators.
However, the proximity of the Federation border has worried some members of the Caldari defense establishment that this could be more than simply a natural occurrence or a normal act of corporate warfare. Though the Navy has declined to comment publicly, a source in Naval Intelligence speaking on the condition of anonymity told us that “so far, there's no evidence of Federation involvement. It isn't a secret in the intelligence community that many scenarios for a Federation invasion of the State involves this kind of economic warfare as a precursor, though.”
SuVee agricultural subsidiaries are expected to make a considerable profit as they pick up the slack from the loss of output from Tennen VI, which usually exports over 70% of its agricultural production, but prices for a wide variety of staple foodstuffs are likely to experience significant increases in the constellation for at least a short period. Commodities futures in the Citadel were up 3% on the news.