Thursday, May 15, 2008

Really serious

"UN alert: One-fourth of world's wheat at risk from new fungus

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned in March that Iran had detected a new highly pathogenic strain of wheat stem rust called Ug99.

The FAO warned stated east of Iran — Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan to be on high alert.

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." (Thanks Steve)

This is REALLY serious. It could easily spell the eradication of traditional wheat farming in the countries of the Levant, where wheat originally came from. It could also mean further dependency on imported grain, but also on new breeds of wheat, GMO or otherwise, which would be protected with strong patents and therefore out of reach of small farmers. I have blogged about it earlier, latest here. For more, search the blog under wheat rust.

1 comment:

Leila Abu-Saba said...

So shouldn't every body with any bit of land anywhere - a square meter even - be planting tubers and other vegetables as backup calories in case of utter disaster? See Sharon Astyk on vegeculture - I've sent you the link before.

Makes me think we should be planting sweet potatoes in our urban garden, although we'd also have to acquire a dog expert at catching rodents because there are too many of those, including raccoons the size of dogs.