SAARC Tool Box: an approach to manage wheat rusts disease in Nepal
Rusts are one of major threats to reduce wheat production and productivity in Nepal. Rust fungi are obligate parasite survival during off-season either on voluntary wheat plants or other grass or timber plant species is not yet confirmed in Nepal. High-inputs, suitable hosts and existence of warm humid and cool high lands in different parts of country promote carryover of inoculums of rust fungi. Nepal could be potential sources of yellow rust and leaf rust epidemic for itself and for Indian sub-continent. Surveillance is one of important steps to know status of wheat diseases especially rusts occurrence in country. The SAARC rust tool box is systematic and regular monitoring activity of wheat and barley diseases conducted at various locations in Nepal. Altogether, 183 and 180 locations were surveyed in different parts of Nepal were put in global rust tool box server and validated in fiscal years 2014/15 and 2015/16. Wheat rusts disease scenario has been observed differently, it could be due to climate change and different virulent spectrum of races/pathotypes of rusts fungi and deployment of different wheat varieties. Yellow rust was widely occurred throughout mid hills in Nepal. Higher severity of yellow rust was observed in Kathmandu valley (80S -100S). Leaf rust was moderate to high (10MS-100S) in plain and hills. There was higher score of leaf rust observed in plain as well as in mid hills on susceptible wheat cultivar. Regular monitoring and surveillance at different locations in Nepal has been found helpful in digging out actual problems of wheat crop. Monitoring races of all three rusts occurring in Nepal is necessary for successful planning to manage rusts by deploying effective genes. Rust tool box is important to keep vigilance of new emerging rust races in country. This in turn could increase production and productivity of wheat in Nepal.