The fungal disease could spread to other wheat producing states in the Near East and western Asia that provide one-quarter of the world’s wheat.
Scientists and international organizations focused on controlling wheat stem rust have said 90 percent of world wheat lines are susceptible to Ug99. The situation is particularly critical in light of the existing worldwide wheat shortage.
Word of the new wheat disease comes amid global shortages of rice and wheat resulting from typhoon-related flooding in Java, Bangladesh, and India and from agricultural pests and diseases in Vietnam. Last year Australia suffered its second consecutive year of severe drought and a near complete crop failure, heavy rains reduced production in Europe, Argentina suffered heavy frost, and Canada and the U.S. both produced low yields.
Food riots have broken out in Egypt, Haiti and several African states, including Mauritania, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal in recent months.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Source: World Tribune