Biosecurity is defined as a set of procedures or measures designed to protect the population against harmful biological or biochemical substances. It encompasses the safety of humans, animals, plants and other useful organisms against pests, diseases and other biological factors, and it is not only essential for trade but also for promoting sustainable agriculture, food, nutrition and livelihood security, and equitable economic development. With global trade allowing movement of agricultural products throughout the globe there are additional risks to local production industries being exposed to armful pests that may be carried with imports or proliferating due to changes in the climate. Information on biosecurity threats to South African grain production will be shared including background information and relevant research being conducted locally to deal with these.
Fall Army Worm
The current Fall Armyworm outbreak has resulted in confirmed cases in all South African provinces except the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. A recent confirmed case in the Eastern Cape was reported at the weekly Fall Armyworm Steering Committee meeting of 10 May 2017.
Maize Lethal Necrosis
A serious disease outbreak in Kenya, later diagnosed as maize lethal necrosis, was first reported in September 2011 in the Longisa division of the Bomet district. By 2012, symptoms consistent with maize lethal necrosis were observed in a number of districts in the Central, Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley provinces of Kenya.
Karnal bunt was first discovered or reported in India in 1931, in a city called Karnal of the State of Haryana, which is also where the disease gets its name from. The disease is caused by Tilletia indica, and it’s also referred to as partial bunt. It was established in Mexico in 1982 and is also found in the USA, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.