New partnership formed to monitor and prevent spread of dangerous fungus
12 April 2007,
The wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis), also known as wheat black rust, is capable of causing severe losses and can destroy entire wheat fields.
Stem rust can destroy entire
It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and
"Global wheat yields could be at risk if the stem rust spreads to major wheat producing countries," said FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf.
"The fungus can spread rapidly and has the potential to cause global crop epidemics and wheat harvest losses of several billion dollars. This could lead to increased wheat prices and local or regional food shortages. Developing countries that are relying on wheat and do not have access to resistant varieties will be particularly hit," Dr Diouf said.
FAO has joined the
The new pathogen first emerged in
A recent FAO mission in the field has confirmed for the first time that Ug99 has affected wheat fields in
Wind-borne transboundary pests and diseases can cause serious damage to crop production.
In the late 1980s, a virulent strain of yellow rust, a wheat disease similar to stem rust, emerged in East Africa and crossed the Red Sea into Yemen. It then moved into the Near East and Central Asia, reaching wheat fields of
Based on monitoring of Desert Locust pathways, FAO does not exclude that wind currents could carry Ug99 stem rust spores from Yemen northwards along the Red Sea to Egypt or through the Saudi Arabian Peninsula towards countries in the Near East.
FAO urges affected countries and countries at risk to increase their disease surveillance.
FAO, ICARDA and CIMMYT will support countries in developing resistant varieties, producing their clean quality seeds, upgrading national plant protection and plant breeding services and developing contingency plans.
... Payvand News - 4/13/07 ... --