[Homestead] Wheat rust -- Ug99
bobford79 at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 16 13:53:01 EST 2008
I don't know how this might affect those on the list who grow thweir own grain, or those of us who eat products made from wheat. I ran across this link , from today, on another site. The fact that it says " potential global wheat crisis" caught my attention.................bobford
Forty wheat producing countries come together to fight new wheat rust
Monday, 10 November 2008
In a significant move to avert potential global wheat crisis, the wheat growing countries have decided to combat the threat from a new and fast-spreading disease, called Ug99 rust, which can wipe out wheat cultivation in several countries across the continents.
The Ug99 strain of fungus (Puccinia graminis), so called because of being first observed in Uganda in 1999, is the most virulent and destructive of all forms of rust diseases that have plagued this key food crop in the past 50 years. It has been spreading rapidly eastwards of Africa to reach Yemen and further on to Iran to knock the doors of the world’s key Asian wheat bowl.
Wheat scientists from about 40 wheat producing countries, who attended the three-day international conference on Ug99 wheat rust that concluded here yesterday, have pledged to cooperate and share knowledge and material in stemming the spread of this scourge. Besides, they decided to develop contingency plans to deal with any emergency arising out of the emergence of this dreaded disease.
The Delhi declaration on wheat stem rust Ug99, adopted at the meet, appealed to the world political leaders to pledge liberal financial support for the collaborative international projects to tackle this menace. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had announced a donation of $26.8 million for breeding new rust-tolerant wheat strains over next 3 years in April last.
India is also contributing funds for this purpose besides being a core member of for the global rust initiative launched by Nobel laureate Norman E Borlaug, hailed as the father of the global wheat revolution.
Pointing to the magnitude of the threat from Ug99, Borlaug pointed out in his recorded message to the conference that wheat rust honoured no political boundaries. “Our aim is to fix the problem of rust we face today and ensure that we never again are as vulnerable as we are today.”
What, indeed, sets the Ug99 rust apart from other common wheat rust diseases is that most of the commonly used genes for imparting rust-resistance to wheat plants are ineffective against this new strain.
The country reports, presented at the Delhi conference, confirmed that the main and related races of the Ug99 fungus are now present in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran. Fortunately, India and its adjoining countries Pakistan and China are so far free of this disease.
However, the chances of its surfacing in India and neighbouring countries through the usual infection dissemination processes or other factors are not being ruled out. The Delhi meet, therefore, decided to put in place effective mechanisms for surveillance and immediate containment of the infection.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which had hosted the Ug99 conference in collaboration with other organisations, has already taken several measures to prevent the entry of this fungus into the country and, in the case of a chance entry, to nip it in the bud at that location itself.
It has begun testing the available wheat varieties to ascertain their vulnerability to this disease. A large number of wheat varieties that can resist this infection have been identified and their seeds are being multiplied, according to ICAR sources.
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