Stem rust spreads beyond Africa
A new and very virulent strain of wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis tritici), Ug99, has spread beyond eastern Africa for the first time, and is labelled a global threat to wheat crops. The Global Rust Initiative (GRI) and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service have confirmed the spread of the disease to Sudan, the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen. Previously, it was only found in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The GRI is working with the agrochemical industry on training and research in fungicide use against the disease and is also seeking resistant wheat varieties.