FAO with its expertise and experience in dealing with transboundary pests and diseases is well aware of what is needed for facing UG99 - first to protect farmers, but also to set up national surveillance and field-monitoring systems and establish regional networks for sharing information.
FAO’s Desert Locust monitoring and early warning system provides a fully operational model upon which a future cereal rust monitoring system can be based. FAO’s rapid response system set up for dealing with outbreaks of avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and locust upsurges is prepared to take steps necessary to protect farmers from Ug99 and consumers from scarcity and high prices.
FAO’s partnerships with national governments, regional bodies, research and development institutions, the donor community and rural communities bring a level of complementarity that is not possible with any other international organization. FAO works with the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) which spearheads international research efforts to develop resistant wheat varieties through national breeding programmes, International Agricultural Research Centres such as CIMMYT and ICARDA and advanced laboratories. FAO, BGRI and other partners provide support to national governments and seed programmes to improve multiplication and distribution of resistant-variety seeds to farmers so they can replace susceptible wheat.
FAO’s Soaring Food Prices Initiative tracks and identifies the potential impact of commodity scarcity on food prices, and supports collaborative systems of information sharing meant to avoid food crises. Ug99 could reduce global wheat production by 60 million tons. A failure of this magnitude would push the prices of all food higher.