The last major epidemic of stem rust occurred in North America in the early 1950s, when a strain of stem rust destroyed as much as 40 percent of the continent’s spring wheat crop.
A new form of fungal wheat disease has jumped from eastern Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Most of the world’s wheat varieties are susceptible to the new Ug99 strain of fungus.
This will be a big problem for more than just the Asian wheat farmers in the path of this pathogen. Wheat is now one of the primary food crops for the whole world.
I hope the researchers can get out in front of this in time. The world is interconnected enough now that the equivalent of the Irish Potato famine could have world-spanning repercussions.