Wheat blast is a fungal pathogen that can devastate a crop and ruin entire harvests. Photo courtesy of Guillermo Isidoro Barea Vargas
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
An epidemic of wheat blast is underway in Bangladesh, published reports say, and losses may be substantial in the six southeastern districts where it has been reported. Wheat blast is a crop disease caused by the Triticum pathotype of the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (MoT). In nations where broad wheat blast epidemics have occurred, 30 percent losses have been noted, but localized areas have experienced 50-100 percent losses, according to Dr. Barbara Valent, fungal molecular geneticist at Kansas State University (KSU).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), has provided nearly $5.4 million since 2009 to support research on wheat and rice blast. KSU leads a multi-institutional research project that brings together expertise from University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky, the Ohio State University, Purdue University, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Read more »
A Bangladeshi factory worker monitors the production of biscuits made from U.S. donated wheat. The donation was delivered to the World Food Programme, a Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) McGovern-Dole program participant that works to provide food assistance in more than 73 countries. The biscuits will be distributed to about 2,000 schools in the poorest areas of Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy New Dehli)
Approximately 350,000 school children in Bangladesh now have access to a daily snack after the U.S. government recently donated more than 10,000 metric tons of wheat to the country through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. Read more »
Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with 70 private sector representatives at the first Feed the Future Public-Private Partnership Technical Forum, hosted jointly by USDA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State at the White House Conference Center. We discussed potential partnerships to increase agricultural growth in developing countries. Then we rolled up our sleeves got to work aligning investments and connecting individuals and activities. Read more »
Market linkage has been established for selling the prawn produced in the area, which has resolved the marketing problem initially faced by the farmers. (Photo credit to Winrock International)
A recent Food for Progress (FFP) project in Bangladesh shows how a small effort can have a big impact on a community. The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty project is managed by Winrock International with the help of USDA and the Ministry of Fisheries in Bangladesh. The goal of this project was to help local farmers boost their incomes by adding prawns and vegetables into their existing farming efforts. Read more »