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Surveillance training to control wheat blast in Bangladesh

Staff Writer |
Responding to a 2016 outbreak of the deadly and little-understood crop disease “wheat blast” in Bangladesh, 40 wheat experts from Bangladesh, India and Nepal have gathered together.

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They have gathered to hone their skills through surveillance exercises in farmers’ fields and molecular analysis of the causal fungus in laboratories of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) at Gazipur.

Entitled “Taking action to mitigate the threat of wheat blast in South Asia: Disease surveillance and monitoring skills training,” the 13-day program was launched on 4 February at BARI’s Wheat Research Center (WRC), Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), Dinajpur, in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the CGIAR research program on wheat, the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) project led by Cornell University, and Kansas State University (KSU).

The 2016 Bangladesh outbreak was the first time wheat blast has appeared in South Asia.

The disease struck 15,000 hectares in 7 southwestern and southern districts of Bangladesh, with crop losses averaging 25-30 percent and reaching 100 percent in some cases.

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