A new and virulent wheat fungus, previously found in East Africa and Yemen, has moved to major wheat growing areas in Iran, reports the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. The fungus is capable of wreaking havoc to wheat production by destroying entire fields.
Countries east of Iran, like Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, all major wheat producers, are most threatened by the fungus and should be on high alert, FAO said.
It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to the wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis). The spores of wheat rust are mostly carried by wind over long distances and across continents.