Every year, the spores of the wheat blast fungus lie in wait on South American and Bangladeshi farms. In most years, the pathogen has only a small impact on the countries’ wheat crops. But, the disease spreads quickly, and when the conditions are right, there’s a risk of a large outbreak — which can pose a serious threat to the food security and livelihood of farmers in a specific year.
To minimize this risk, an international partnership of researchers and organizations have created the wheat blast Early Warning System (EWS), a digital platform that notifies farmers and officials when weather conditions are ideal for the fungus to spread. The team is introducing the technology to Brazil. Wheat blast was originally discovered in the country in 1985.
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