A new issue is emerging on the global scene that might cause billions of people to go hungry at a time when unpredictable weather patterns, global pandemics, and shifting weather patterns already pose a threat of world famine.
One of the most significant food crops, wheat, is reportedly under threat from a pandemic of blast illness, according to a group of scientists. According to the findings of their research, two separate imports of the South American wheat blast fungus resulted in the recent spread of a clonal lineage across Asia and Africa.
According to the study, in wheat, yield losses caused by pests and diseases average over 20%. Wheat is currently threatened by the expanding blast pandemic caused by the ascomycete fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, a formidable and persistent menace to major grain cereals that could contribute to total crop failure.
The disease first appeared in Brazil in 1985 but has been reported in Bangladesh and Zambia over the last few years, causing, for example, an average yield loss of 51% in the Bangladesh outbreak in 2016.
The authors of the study further wrote that the occurrence of wheat blast on three continents with climatic conditions highly conducive to its spread is unprecedented and represents a very significant threat to global food security, which is exacerbated by the unprecedented twin challenges of climate change and armed conflicts in major agricultural regions.
The Indepent quoted one of the authors of the study, Professor Nick Talbot of the Sainsbury Laboratory, as saying, "Only by really understanding the enemy and the pathogens that cause these diseases will we be able to really preventively control them. We have to assume that plant diseases are going to spread all over the world through the impacts of climate change and globalisation, and we have to be prepared for them."
"We have to be proactive rather than reactive; we have to anticipate how the diseases will move and therefore plan accordingly."