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Taro Leaf Blight—A Threat to Food Security

Author

Listed:
  • Davinder Singh

    () (Plant Breeding Institute Cobbitty, University of Sydney, Cobbitty, NSW 2570, Australia)

  • Grahame Jackson

    () (24 Alt Street, Queens Park, NSW 2022, Australia)

  • Danny Hunter

    () (Bioversity International, Rome 00057, Italy)

  • Robert Fullerton

    () (The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025, New Zealand)

  • Vincent Lebot

    () (CIRAD, Port Vila, Vanuatu)

  • Mary Taylor

    () (Secretariat of Pacific Community, Suva, Fiji)

  • Tolo Iosefa

    () (Department of Crop Sciences, University of South Pacific, Apia, Samoa)

  • Tom Okpul

    () (Department of Agriculture, University of Technology, Lae, Morobe 411, Papua New Guinea)

  • Joy Tyson

    () (The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025, New Zealand)

Abstract

Taro leaf blight (caused by the Oomycete Phytophthora colocasiae ) is a disease of major importance in many regions of the world where taro is grown. Serious outbreaks of taro leaf blight in Samoa in 1993 and in the last few years in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria continue to demonstrate the devastating impact of this disease on the livelihoods and food security of small farmers and rural communities dependent on the crop. The spread of the disease to new geographical areas also poses a major threat to neighbouring countries and taro growing regions still free from the disease. Past research, particularly in the Pacific, has demonstrated that management measures such as chemical and cultural control are largely ineffective and that breeding for disease resistance is the most sustainable approach to manage the disease. Recently, the Pacific and South-east Asian regional taro networks have made excellent progress in developing cultivars resistant to taro leaf blight through enhanced utilization of taro genetic resources and close collaboration between farmers and researchers in breeding programs. These programs have secured vital taro genetic resources for future use. This paper provides an overview of the disease, its origin, distribution, biology, epidemiology, management and global impact. The paper will largely focus on breeding strategies to address the disease including challenges, opportunities and constraints. It also discusses how these breeding experiences and outputs can be scaled up to other geographical areas where the disease has been recently introduced or under threat of introduction.

Suggested Citation

  • Davinder Singh & Grahame Jackson & Danny Hunter & Robert Fullerton & Vincent Lebot & Mary Taylor & Tolo Iosefa & Tom Okpul & Joy Tyson, 2012. "Taro Leaf Blight—A Threat to Food Security," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-22, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:2:y:2012:i:3:p:182-203:d:18873
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    taro; Colocasia esculenta ; taro leaf bight; Phytophthora colocasiae ; resistance breeding; networks;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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