Wheat Stem Rust Widespread in East Africa
In Uganda, high incidence and severity of wheat stem rust have been reported in late August throughout the wheat growing regions. In Kenya, despite drought in many areas, wheat stem rust has been recorded throughout the wheat areas. Unsprayed fields in the North Rift province surveyed in September had high severity of stem rust. The variety KS Mwamba was highly affected. In both countries, there is no confirmation of races involved but presence of the Ug99 lineage is highly likely. Late rains in Ethiopia delayed planting, surveys will be undertaken in Oct. Southern Africa: Surveys were undertaken in Zambia in late August and Zimbabwe (7-11 Sept. 2009). In Zambia, no stem rust was observed in farmer fields during the survey. Intensive use of fungicides (up to 3 sprays) was reported for commercial farmers. Stem rust was however detected at one research station on 17th Sept. Race identity is currently unknown. In Zimbabwe, stem rust was recorded at 5 locations: Gwebi, Birchenough, Mutare, Nyanga and Harare. Races involved are currently unknown, but race analysis is underway. At Gwebi, this was the first report of stem rust since 2003. At Nyanga, high levels of stem rust infections were observed on small-holder plots.