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Stories of Change

Using a storytelling approach, this special series of short stories communicates the impact of FAO's work on prevention and response to transboundary threats, told through the voice of the individuals affected.

How to combat wheat rust diseases in Central and West Asia and North Africa: developing synergies and countries’ capacities

Associate researcher from Lebanon is empowered with the training required to build up Lebanese rust research facilities


Wheat rust diseases (yellow, stem and leaf rusts) pose a serious threat to food security around the world. The decline in wheat production severely affects the food chain. The wheat-producing countries in Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA)are particularly vulnerable to these diseases because new races frequently appear. Without continuous surveillance to ensure effective monitoring and disease control, CWANA countries may face substantial grain yield losses.

Strong national capacities, international collaboration and information-sharing are essential to achieve successful disease management at the regional and global level. FAO, as a member of the Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), works with its international and national partners to support countries in developing capacities for disease surveillance and management.

In collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), FAO has facilitated trainings on surveillance, race analysis and management of wheat rust diseases at the Regional Cereal Rust Research Center (RCRRC) in Izmir, Turkey. In the last three years, over 50 national officers from Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan have been trained at the RCRRC, which was established as a collaboration between ICARDA and Turkey. Rola El Amil, an Associate Researcher from the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), was among the trainees who attended the training course in 2018. Together with her peers, she was trained in the management and surveillance of rust diseases and race analysis, especially regarding yellow rust.




Maasai communities in Kenya adapting to climate change by adopting smart-agriculture practices - Two Maasai pastoralists have been instrumental in boosting small-scale subsistence agriculture and improving the nutrition and health of their families and communities in Kajiado County.