Pro Farmer Editors
Representatives of major wheat producing countries have called for urgent coordinated action to prevent and control the wheat stem rust disease strain Ug99, The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today. The fungus is capable of causing heavy damage to wheat crops and is a major threat to food security.
In a declaration adopted by the International Conference on Wheat Stem Rust Ug99 - A Threat to Food Security in New Delhi (November 6-8, 2008), countries pledged to strongly support prevention and control of the wheat stem rust as a matter of national policy and international cooperation.
Affected countries and countries at risk should develop contingency plans to prevent rust epidemics that could result in devastating yield losses, says FAO. Countries should share surveillance information and a global early warning system should be immediately established.
Plant breeding research should be intensified and international cooperation enhanced to develop new Ug99 resistant varieties. Quality seeds of rust resistant wheat varieties should be multiplied nationally and distributed to needy farming communities, they add.
Over 130 participants from ministries of agriculture of 31 countries, senior policy makers, researchers, seed producers and plant production experts attended the meeting, jointly organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Government of India, FAO and its Borlaug Global Rust Initiative partners.