Regional cooperation and strong national monitoring and management are essential for the prevention and control of wheat rust diseases, which threaten the most widely grown crop in the world…
10 May 2023, Izmir, Türkiye – In order to assess the growing threat posed by wheat rust diseases to regional food security, experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Türkiye, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, gathered in Izmir to attend a ten-day training workshop (1–10 May 2023) to evaluate options for monitoring, cooperation, integrated disease management and information exchange. The participants included representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Türkiye, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute Directorate.
The workshop forms part of the project “Strengthening regional collaboration and national capacities for the management of wheat rust diseases and resistance breeding in Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC-Rust)” a five-year project implemented by FAO in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, ICARDA, CIMMYT and the International Winter Wheat Improvement Programme (IWWIP), and supported by the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP II). The project aims to provide training to experts and producers on rust disease monitoring, identification of new races and disease management in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan.
During the ten-day workshop, 16 wheat rust researchers from the above countries received hands-on training on rust diseases monitoring, race analysis and management at the Regional Cereal Rust Research Centre in Izmir. Experts also discussed recent developments concerning management of wheat rust diseases and stressed the significance of collaborating among national and international institutions to address the associated challenges. The experts further emphasized that regular monitoring and sharing of information are crucial to respond to the frequent emergence and rapid spread of new races of wheat rust disease agents.
During the opening remarks, Ahmet Volkan Güngören, Deputy Director-General for European Union and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Suat Yılmaz, Head of Field Crops Research Department of the General Directorate of Agricultural Research; Ertuğrul Arda, Director of the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute; Mesut Keser, ICARDA Country Representative and Sridhar Bhavani, CIMMYT Head of rust pathology and wheat improvement lead for East Africa, all emphasized the importance of cooperation and information sharing among countries in order to manage rust diseases more effectively at national, regional and global levels. They also expressed their satisfaction at the opportunity to work together within the framework of the project.
Fazıl Düşünceli, FAO Technical Officer of the CAC-Rust project, summarized recent developments within the scope of the project and shared planned work for the coming period. Kumarse Nazari, Technical Coordinator of the Regional Cereal Rust Research Centre, explained the main activities of the centre and informed the participants about the importance of monitoring rust races at the regional level.
CIMMYT Global Rust Disease Specialist Dave Hodson provided information about recent global developments in the status of the disease, and Mogens Hovm øller and Jens Grønbech Hansen from the Global Rust Reference Center, which is headquartered in Aarhus – Denmark, informed participants about the work of the center and global database and information sharing options. Researchers who completed their training received their certificates at a ceremony held on May 9.
About the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes
The objectives of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes are to provide support to ensure food security, rural poverty reduction and sustainable forest management; combat desertification; and preserve ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and other countries of mutual interest.
Established in 2007, the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP) has benefited from trust fund contributions totalling USD 10 million, financed by the Government of Türkiye and represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. During the first phase of the programme, 28 projects were implemented in 16 countries between 2009 and 2015.
In 2014, Türkiye and FAO commenced the second phase of the FTPP along with the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP) with additional funding of USD 20 million, bringing Türkiye’s total contribution to USD 30 million.