Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Agriculture: Growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide

Date:
April 20, 2011
Source:
Burness Communications
Summary:
Aggressive new strains of wheat rust diseases -- called stem rust and stripe rust -- have decimated up to 40 percent of farmers' wheat fields in recent harvests in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to new research.

Researchers meeting at a scientific conference in Aleppo this week reported that aggressive new strains of wheat rust diseases -- called stem rust and stripe rust -- have decimated up to 40% of farmers' wheat fields in recent harvests. Areas affected are North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Related Articles


"These epidemics increase the price of food and pose a real threat to rural livelihoods and regional food security," said Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

In most of the countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucuses, where wheat can contribute more than 40% of people's food calories and 20% of the protein, the epidemics cause economic hardship for farmers and their families.

More than 100 scientists and policymakers from 31 countries are meeting at the International Wheat Stripe Rust Symposium 18-20 April at ICARDA, in Aleppo, Syria, to discuss strategies for wheat rust surveillance and monitoring, development of rust-resistant wheat varieties, and crop diversity strategies to slow the progress of rust across large areas of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

"Some of the countries affected by rust epidemics have invested very little in agricultural research and development," said Hans Braun, director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. At the meeting, he challenged policymakers to recognize the link between scientific research and food security and to invest more heavily in agricultural research.

Climate change, in terms of rising temperatures, and the timing and increasing variability of rainfall, is contributing to the spread and severity of rust diseases. Emerging races of rust are showing adaptations to extreme temperatures not seen before. Scientists around the globe are working on monitoring and surveillance of stem rust and stripe rust to insure rapid detection and reporting so farmers, policymakers, and agricultural research centers can respond more quickly to initial outbreaks.

"To combat the problem of wheat rusts, farmers in these regions need to adopt new varieties of wheat that have durable resistance to both stem and stripe rust," said Ronnie Coffman, vice chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative.

New rust resistant varieties are in the pipeline at international and national agricultural research centers. Breeders are selecting for other important characteristics including improved yield performance, drought tolerance, and regional suitability.

Country preparedness for outbreaks of wheat rust involves such issues as the availability of resistant varieties that are known to and accepted by farmers, the availability of sufficient quality seeds of new varieties for farmers to use, and the availability, accessibility and affordability of effective fungicides and capacity of farmers to use them.

In most cases, the bottleneck to getting resistant varieties into the field in time to protect local harvests is local capacity and the ability of national programs to rapidly multiply seeds and deliver them to market. Improving country capacity requires long-term planning, funding, and getting farmers involved earlier in the variety selection process.

"There is need for enhancing in-country capacity of the breeding, seed and extension systems to continuously ensure that new, highly productive and genetically diverse resistant varieties are available and accepted by farmers to meet the challenges of changing rust virulence," said Wafa El Khoury, coordinator of the Wheat Rust Disease Global Program at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). "Coordination and timely information sharing among all the stakeholders -- from surveillance and plant protection officers, to wheat breeders, seed system and extension agents, and farmers -- is key."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Burness Communications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Burness Communications. "Agriculture: Growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420111904.htm>.
Burness Communications. (2011, April 20). Agriculture: Growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420111904.htm
Burness Communications. "Agriculture: Growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420111904.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins