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On top of record-breaking rice prices and corn through the roof on ethanol demand, wheat is now rusting in the fields across Africa.
Officials fear near total crop losses, and the fungus, known as Ug99, is spreading.
David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors, said the deadly fungus, Puccinia graminis, is now spreading through some areas of the globe where "crop losses are expected to reach 100 percent.”
Losses in Africa are already at 70 percent
For now .. we have to rely on fungicides, wheat breeding and luck. "We're moving as fast as we can now, but we started three years too late," ... "We'd better have some good luck. Governments think this is still small and local, but these things build up."
UG99 not present in Pakistan, bumper wheat crop expected
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: Current wheat crop (2008 harvest) will not be attacked by UG99, as the race is not in our terrain. Experimental tests of the local stem rust strain found in Sindh is not UG99 as this local race has not attacked a wheat test variety unequivocally susceptible to UG99 in field and controlled environmental testing conditions.
Stem rust on wheat has caused international concern due to its occurrence, damage potential, systematic spread across wheat growing areas in several countries coupled with the threat it poses to Pakistan and countries beyond our borders. The rust UG99 from Uganda spread into Kenya and Ethiopia, then crossed into Yemen and has recently been reported in Iran. This proximity presence and its wind borne spore spreading nature threatens Pakistan wheat areas particularly Sindh and lower Punjab where stem rust is to be a problem.