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African stem rust could devastate wheat worldwide

Agriculture.com Staff 04/16/2008 @ 3:01pm

KANSAS CITY (AP)--The world has "never been less secure" about the near-term future of wheat, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer told food aid groups Wednesday.

Schafer told the International Food Aid Conference meeting here that global wheat stocks are at historic 30-year lows and U.S. wheat stocks are at 60-year lows. Against that background, the highly virulent African stem rust is quickly spreading to places such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Yemen, India, Pakistan and now Iran.

"With over 75% of U.S. wheat acres planted to varieties that are highly susceptible to this disease, the threat here at home is real and it is urgent," he said.

The disease, which is carried by wind spores, would be devastating to global food supplies if it affects the U.S. wheat crops, now valued at $16 billion.

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KANSAS CITY (AP)--The world has "never been less secure" about the near-term future of wheat, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer told food aid groups Wednesday.

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