FAO: Wheat rust diseases remain constant but neglected threat
Wheat rusts, like other pathogens, over time can evolve into new strains that are more virulent and damaging to wheat crops. Ug99 is one such strain of stem rust, which emerged in Uganda in 1998-1999. It has since spread beyond East Africa as far as Iran and the worry is that most of the wheat varieties across nearly the same swath of East Africa, West and South Asia are susceptible to this virulent strain. Similarly the Yr 27 virulent strain of yellow rust caused significant losses across the same region from North Africa into West and South Asia during the serious epidemics in 2009 and 2010.
Wheat rusts must be closely monitored as part of a global collective effort. To achieve sustained and improved productivity in wheat, increased investments are needed to support regional and international collaboration efforts to support integrated disease management in the regions often at risk of wheat rust epidemics, specifically in East and North Africa, the Near East and Central and South Asia.