- Sathguru Management Consultants India with NARC and DRRW organizes 2015 SAARC Wheat Rust Training Program.
INDIA: 17 March 2015: Sathguru Management Consultants, India with the DRRW (Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat) and NARC (Nepal Agricultural Research Council) is organizing the 2015 SAARC Wheat Rust Training Program. The Program 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.
Scientists from South Asia are gathering in Kathmandu to participate in comprehensive trainingon wheat rust monitoring and disease management. The 2015 SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) Surveillance Training Workshop will foster regional collaboration and equip a new generation of South Asian scientists with the tools and knowledge to manage the threat of wheat rusts. The course is being held 16-25 March at the Crown Plaza (Soaltee) Hotel and the Nepal Agricultural Research Council’s (NARC) Khumaltar research station in Lalitpur.
“A reddish-brown, windborne fungus known as stem rust re-emerged as a threat to the world’s wheat crop in Uganda in 1998,” said Gordon Cisar, associate director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project at Cornell University, USA. “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 Pakistan, Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and the U.S.
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 metric tons of wheat grown on 100,000 hectares in 1965/66, to 1.9 million metric tons on 754,00 ha with an average yield of 2,496kg/ha in 2013/14.
Rust pathology, pathogen surveillance, field and laboratory techniques, plant breeding, and statistics will be demonstrated to the Program participants. They will learn to update global surveillance data using modern information technology tools known as the SAARC Toolbox, a kit that includes a Rust Survey app developed by Sathguru that works on hand-held tablets. The data is fed into each country’s surveillance database, and ultimately into a global Rust Mapper.
Faculty involved in the training include a team of scientists from the NARC, Robert Park (University of Sydney, Australia), Gordon Cisar (DRRW), Zak Pretorius and Neal McLaren (University of the Free State, South Africa), Dave Hodson (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center- CIMMYT, Ethiopia), Arun Joshi (CIMMYT, Nepal),and Mohinder Prashar (Mahyco, India), among others.
The DRRW leads 23 universities and research institutions across the globe in reducing vulnerability to stem, yellow and leaf rusts of wheat on behalf of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), initiated in 2005 by Dr. Norman Borlaug. TheBGRI works with local farmers to replacesusceptible varieties of wheat with agronomically superior varieties through development of rust resistant varieties.
Using lectures and other materials from the course, multimedia specialists from Cornell University will create an online course on the “Art and Science of Plant Pathology” that will be available to the global wheat community on the BGRI website.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the DRRW is managed by Cornell University. Partners include the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, CIMMYT, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Sathguru Management Consultants, among others.