Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Global conference on plant viral disease in 2013 coming to Africa.

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


The 12th International Plant Virus Epidemiology (IPVE) symposium will take place in Arusha, Tanzania, between January 28 and 1 February 2013. It will bring together scientists from across the world and will provide researchers a platform to share the latest knowledge, brainstorm and come up with a road map to contain the spread of plant virus diseases.
Themed “Evolution, Ecology and Control of Plant Viruses,” the conference will take place at a time when the battle against plant virus diseases is becoming more complex and the need for food security is demanding more global attention.
It will be the first time the meeting is taking place in Africa—a continent plagued by plant viruses of key staple crops, driven by a climate that is getting warmer.
According to Dr Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) plant viruses are spreading rapidly to new places, and are frustrating efforts to boost the food security and livelihoods of millions of people. 
“These viruses include the deadly cassava brown streak, banana bunchy top disease, rice yellow mottle, and maize streak virus, among others,” he said in a press release.
“Poor small-holder farmers--who are majority of the population and of the food growers, with their limited resources are bearing the brunt of these virus diseases. They are least able to invest in inputs such as pesticides and herbicides and improved disease-resistant varieties,” he said. This, he added, calls for “Science-based solutions to these challenges.”
The meeting will enable exchange of latest knowledge and technologies to control virus diseases and pave the way for an African and global strategy to combat emerging and re-emerging plant virus diseases.
The meeting is being co-organized by IITA, CGIAR, Bioversity, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute (MARI) in Tanzania, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda, AVRDC—The World Vegetable Center, and West and Central African Council for Agriculture Research and Development (WECARD/CORAF) under the auspices of the International Committee on Plant Virus Epidemiology (ICPVE).
Past hosts include the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, France, Italy, Israel, Spain, Peru, Germany, and India played host to IPVE meetings.
The IPVE is a specialist committee on plant virus epidemiology of the International Society of Plant Pathology (ISPP). The Committee has previously conducted 11 international symposia in different parts of the world. Distinguished virologists from over 40 countries are expected to attend this symposium. 

Ochieng’ Ogodo is a Nairobi based journalist whose works have been published in various parts of the world including Africa, the US and Europe. He is the English-speaking Africa and Middle East region winner for the 2008 Reuters-IUCN Media Awards for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. He is the chairman of the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association. He can be reached at ochiengogodo@yahoo.com or ochiengogodo@gmail.com

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