Ug99 - the fight goes on
The United Kingdom's Department of International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest 40 million US dollars in a global project to combat deadly strains of Ug99, Cornwell University reported in February 2011. Among the university's partners are national research centres in Kenya and Ethiopia, and scientists at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The project involves scientists and farmers from more than 40 countries.
Ug99 is an evolving wheat pathogen that poses a serious threat to global food security, particularly in the poorest nations of the developing world. Scientists have long been tackling the problem. In 2009 researchers from CIMMYT, ICARDA, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) reported a breakthrough in their efforts to develop new varieties of wheat that are not only resistant to Ug99, but also produce more grain than today's most popular varieties (see Rural 21, Issue 3/2009, page 41).