Agricultural scientists have warned that Black Rust disease could strike Nepal if precautionary measures were not taken in time to control the fatal fungal disease which has badly affected wheat crops in Africa and some parts of Asia.
According to Thursday's eKantipur.com report, they also stressed the need to devise immediate and long-term plans to combat the devastating disease to avert potentially huge losses in wheat production.
"Black Rust disease began its journey in Uganda and has already entered Asian countries like Iraq and Iran. It has become a great challenge for us," Madan Raj Bhatta, coordinator of the National Wheat Research Program said on Wednesday at the 27th National Winter Crops Workshop in Nepali capital Kathmandu.
Bhatta said that the wheat disease would affect Nepal immediately if the fungal disease makes its way here through Pakistan which is close to Iran.
Bhola Man Singh Basnet, principal scientist at the Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), said some samples of wheat varieties available in Nepal have been sent to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico to test their resistance capacity against Black Rust.
He also said that NARC was in touch with Global Rust Initiative, an international body which is monitoring the current status of rust disease seen in wheat crops.
Around 100 scientists and experts are taking part in the three-day workshop organized by NARC in a bid to find ways to raise production of winter crops in the country.