8 January 2013

Nigeria: Global Forum to Tackle Plant Virus Holds in Jan

Scientists from across the world will gather in Arusha, Tanzania, for the 12th International Plant Virus Epidemiology (IPVE) symposium between January 28 and 1 February 2013.

The meeting is expected to provide researchers a platform to share the latest knowledge, brainstorm and draw a road map to contain the spread of plant virus diseases.

The conference, with a theme: 'Evolution, Ecology and Control of Plant Viruses'" is coming 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. This is the first time the meeting is taking place in Africa - a continent that is plagued by plant viruses of key staple crops, driven by a climate that is getting warmer.

Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, noted that plant viruses are spreading rapidly to new places, 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.

"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, adding that "We need science-based solutions to these challenges."

The symposium will provide a forum for 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. Renowned virologists from over 40 countries are billed to attend this event.

The symposium will take place at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, which is located between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru in Arusha, Tanzania; and is about 40 minutes' drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

The meeting is being co-organised by IITA, CGIAR, Bioversity, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute (MARI) in Tanzania, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda, AVRDC - The World Vegetable Centre, 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).

In the past, 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 IPVE Committee has previously conducted 11 international symposia in different parts of the world.

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