Study: Stem Rust Disease Could Threaten Global Food Supply

Posted By: |

Stem Rust, Photo Credit: Wikimedia

A global team led by researchers from the University of Minnesota (U of M) warns in a new study that without increased financial support for disease resistance research, new strains of a devastating fungal disease could leave millions without affordable access to food.

The study, published in the current edition of the journal Science, examines how Ug99 – new virulent forms of stem rust first found in Uganda in 1999—could continue its movement across Africa, the Middle East and southwest Asia.  According to the team, the disease threatens food supplies for millions of people who depend on wheat and other small grains. Scientists have developed new wheat varieties with some resistance to the deadly disease, but the disease evolves and mutates into new forms, requiring new resistant varieties to be developed.

According to the U of M press release, several projects to develop resistance to Ug99 are under way, including an international consortium known as the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, a $26 million, five-year effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. U of M economists estimate, though, that as much as $51 million a year is needed. That number was reached by estimating the economic losses that would likely have occurred without the 20th century research that kept earlier variations of the disease at bay.

“Failing to increase and sustain investments in rust-resistance research is tantamount to accepting an increase in the risk of yield losses on one of the world’s food staples,” said Phil Pardey, leader of the research team and a professor of applied economics at U of M. “Spending on stem rust research has been inadequate for some time, and increased research investment must be sustained over the long haul if science is to keep on top of these ever-evolving crop diseases.”

Collaborators on the new study are from the University of Minnesota’s Stakman-Borlaug Cereal Rust Center; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia; the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico; and universities in South Africa and Australia.

For more information to the study, go to http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_439411.html.

Africa

Africa

How Africa’s Farms Are Recovering from Ebola

After thousands fled their farms and loan programs collapsed in the wake of Ebola, international and local organizations are working to help bring them back.

Africa

To Bring Green Revolution to Africa, Countries Must Develop New Technologies

“Assuming Africa is an appropriate setting for another Asian-style Green Revolution is misleading and could result in, yet again, a frustrated attempt to attain sustainable agricultural growth." --IFPRI

Africa

FAO’s Da Silva: Agriculture Must Change

FAO Director-General speaks at International Forum on Agriculture and Climate Change

Dow AgroSciences
Africa

Dow AgroSciences Announces New Structure in Europe, Middle East, Africa

Company to launch six new molecules in next three to five years.

Zakłady Chemiczne Police
Africa

Zaklady Chemiczne Police to Build Phosphoric Acid Plant in Senegal

The new plant is the next step in ZChP's plan to move to full fertilizer production in Senegal and set up a fertilizer distribution center for West Africa.

Africa

IFA and the AFAP Agree to Improve Fertilizer Markets in Africa

Agreement looks to increase fertilizer use to 50 kg per hectare across Africa.

Africa

Empowering Africa’s Farmers and Agrodealers Through Capacity Building

Training agrochemical users and suppliers in Africa on proper use of farm inputs is critical to ensuring increased production of high-quality crops and safeguarding the health and safety of consumers and the environment.

Africa

Mozambique Offers Enormous Opportunity for New Technologies

As Mozambique's agricultural market continues to grow, the country offers crop input companies enormous opportunity.

Africa

Anti-Desertification Effort To Create More Demand For Crop Inputs in Africa

The €41 million effort should help end hunger, foster stability and adapt to climate change.

Africa

Ebola Affected Countries Could Face ‘Wave of Food Crises’ – IFAD

At World Food Prize, UN agency IFAD calls for "rapid collective response" to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Africa

Turning Talk into Action: Villa Academy Educates on Crop Protection Best Practices

The only institute of higher learning for crop protection takes lead on attracting and training the industry’s new generation.

Africa

Locust Plague in Madagascar Halted, For Now

Additional support of $14.7 million is urgently needed for aerial surveys, control operations, equipment, pesticides, as well as the recruitment of key staff to carry out the second and third campaigns.

Africa

Sumitomo Announces New Mode of Action for Adult Mosquito Control

Product expected to combat growing threat of insecticide resistance.

Africa

Global Rice Output Rises on Demand in China, India

Double-digit increases are expected throughout Asia and Africa as a result of increased planted area and better use of technology.

Africa

Yara Prize Honors Leadership for the Future of Farming

2014 prize awarded to Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa, state minister and adviser to the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture.

Africa

Stricter MRLs Pushing Global Demand for Biopesticides

Biopesticide market to reach $6.6 billion in 2020, driven by grassroots consumer demand, large grocery retailers and food safety rules in the EU and China.

Africa

Adama Profit Jumps on Strong Sales Gains in Latin America, India

Company sees sales increases in most regions despite challenging weather conditions.

Africa

Allana Potash Focuses on Ethiopia to Meet Demands of Changing Market

Ethiopia's Agricultural Transformation Agency reports that 100,000 to 400,000 tonnes of potash will be consumed by Ethiopia, Kenya and other East African nations over the next five years.

Africa

Syngenta Profit Falls on Lower North American Corn Acreage

Latin America shows strongest growth, despite dry conditions in Brazil and Argentina.

Latest News

Americas

The Biopesticide Market Is Thriving

Sector on track to double market share in the next five years.

Americas

Monsanto Calls for Retraction of WHO’s Glyphosate Assessment

Classification as probable carcinogen goes against scientific consensus, industry experts and scientists say.

Americas

Adama Posts Higher Profit for Year, Weighs IPO Options

"Various possibilities" are being examined regarding executing the business combination between the company and the China business.

Americas

Monsanto’s Fraley ‘Outraged’ by WHO Glyphosate Assessment

"Result was reached by selective ‘cherry picking’ of data and is a clear example of agenda-driven bias.” --Fraley

Americas

World Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific Findings on Glyphosate

"Review does not meet the standards used by respected agencies around the world," says Dr. Phillip Miller, Monsanto global regulatory lead.