Saarc workshop on wheat rust

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Mar 16, 2015-

The 2015 Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Surveillance Training Workshop on wheat rust monitoring and disease management kicked off in Kathmandu on Monday. The programme has brought together scientists from South Asia in a bid to foster regional collaboration and equip a new generation of regional scientists with tools and knowledge to manage the threat of wheat rust. The course will last from March 16-25.

“A reddish-brown, windborne fungus known as stem rust re-emerged as a threat to the world’s wheat crops in Uganda in 1998,” said Gordon Cisar, associate director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project at Cornell University, US.

“The so-called Ug99 pathogen and its variants have unique virulence to which a large proportion of the world’s wheat varieties lack resistance. Outbreaks of wheat rust pose a threat to global food security.”

As an indication of the international concern regarding this threat to South Asia, the course in Kathmandu is drawing participants from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and

the US.

The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (Narc) is organising the 2015 Saarc Wheat Rust Training Course with the DRRW and Sathguru Management Consultants, India. The course is the fifth such event held in South Asia, resulting in ever increasing, interconnected scientific capacity to deal with the threat of wheat rusts in the region.

Wheat is the second most important crop after rice in the Saarc countries, and is the staple diet in Pakistan and India. In Nepal, yields have increased from 112,000 tonnes of wheat grown on 100,000 hectares in 1965-66 to 1.9 million tonnes on 754,00 hectares with an average yield of 2,496 kg per hectare in 2013-14.

 

Published: 17-03-2015 09:36

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