November 13, 2008

                  
Coordinated international action needed on wheat fungus Ug99- FAO
                  

 

Representatives from 31 wheat producing countries are calling for help from the international community to combat a wheat stem rust disease which could reduce world wheat production.

 

That is according to the U.N's Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday (November 13, 2008).

 

Ug99, a lethal wheat fungus found in Uganda in 1999, is a threat to food security and has spread from East Africa to Yemen, Sudan and Iran.

 

"Affected countries and countries at risk should develop contingency plans to prevent rust epidemics that could result in devastating yield losses," the FAO said. "Countries should share surveillance information and a global early warning system should be immediately established."

 

The FAO estimates that as much as 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to Ug99.