New Wheat Rust Races Found in Europe, Africa, Central Asia
By Dipo Olowookere
Wheat rust, a family of fungal diseases that can cause crop losses of up to 100 percent in untreated susceptible wheats, is making further advances in Europe, Africa and Asia, according to two new studies produced by scientists in collaboration with FAO.
The reports, highlighted in the journal Nature following their publication by Aarhus University and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), show the emergence of new races of both yellow rust and stem rust in various regions of the world in 2016.
At the same time, well-known existing rust races have spread to new countries, the studies confirm, underlining the need for early detection and action to limit major damage to wheat production, particularly in the Mediterranean basin.
Wheat is a source of food and livelihoods for over 1 billion people in developing countries. Northern and Eastern Africa, the Near East, and West, Central and South Asia – which are all vulnerable to rust diseases − alone account for some 37 percent of global wheat production.
“These new, aggressive rust races have emerged at the same time that we’re working with international partners to help countries combat the existing ones, so we have to be swift and thorough in the way we approach this,” said FAO Plant Pathologist Fazil Dusunceli. “It’s more important than ever that specialists from international institutions and wheat producing countries work together to stop these diseases in their tracks − that involves continuous surveillance, sharing data and building emergency response plans to protect their farmers and those in neighboring countries.”
Wheat rusts spread rapidly over long distances by wind. If not detected and treated on time, they can turn a healthy looking crop, only weeks away from harvest, into a tangle of yellow leaves, black stems and shriveled grains.
Fungicides can help to limit damage, but early detection and rapid action are crucial. So are integrated management strategies in the long run.
Mediterranean most affected by new rusts
On the Italian island of Sicily, a new race of the stem rust pathogen −called TTTTF− hit several thousands of hectares of durum wheat in 2016, causing the largest stem rust outbreak that Europe has seen in decades. Experience with similar races suggests that bread wheat varieties may also be susceptible to the new race.
TTTTF is the most recently identified race of stem rust. Without proper control, researchers caution, it could soon spread over long distances along the Mediterranean basin and the Adriatic coast.
Various countries across Africa, Central Asia and Europe, meanwhile, have been battling new strains of yellow rust never before been seen in their fields.
Italy, Morocco and four Scandinavian countries have seen the emergence of an entirely new, yet-to-be-named race of yellow rust. Notably, the new race was most prevalent in Morocco and Sicily, where yellow rust until recently was considered insignificant. Preliminary analysis suggests the new race is related to a family of strains that are aggressive and better adapted to higher temperatures than most others.
Wheat farmers in Ethiopia and Uzbekistan, at the same time, have been fighting outbreaks of yellow rust AF2012, another race which reared its head in both countries in 2016 and struck a major blow to Ethiopian wheat production in particular. AF2012 was previously only found in Afghanistan, before appearing in the Horn of Africa country last year, where it affected tens of thousands of hectares of wheat.
“Preliminary assessments are worrisome, but it is still unclear what the full impact of these new races will be on different wheat varieties in the affected regions,” said Dusunceli. “That’s what research institutions across these regions will need to further investigate in the coming months.”
Dangote Says N300bn Bond Listing Reflects Nigerian Capital Market Depth
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The listing of Dangote Industries Limited’s N300 billion series 1 and 2 bonds on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has been described as an indicator of the depth of the Nigerian capital market.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the conglomerates, Mr Olakunle Alake, said this on Wednesday when a closing gong ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the listing of the corporate debt instrument on the local stock exchange.
Mr Alake, represented by the Group Chief Finance Officer, Mr Mustapha Ibrahim, said, “We are pleased to have showcased the depth and liquidity of the domestic capital market whilst we reflect the strong quality of the issuer, despite the current global market realities.”
According to him, the depth of the market was reflected in the successful issuance of the bond, which was the largest aggregate local currency bond issued in the capital market so far within the year.
He further noted that the listing of the bond recorded participation from a wide range of investors, including domestic pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies and further demonstrated investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s credit reality.
On his part, the Divisional Head of Capital Markets at NGX, Mr Jude Chiemeka, speaking at the event, applauded the listing of the bond, which provides corporates with the opportunity to raise capital.
“The listing of this transaction on our platform not only allows for a more liquid capital market, but it also shows our capacity to facilitate large transactions towards enabling a more robust ecosystem,” Mr Chiemeka said.
He further noted that NGX remains committed to fostering similar transactions through its digital gateways such as this and a confident market where corporates and investors can achieve their respective objectives.
Unlisted Securities Market Closes Flat at Midweek
By Adedapo Adesanya
Trading activities ended in a stalemate on the floor of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange on Wednesday, with no single price gainer or a price loser at the close of business.
As a result of this development, the market capitalisation of the bourse remained intact at N1.03 trillion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) also remained unchanged at 743.15 points.
The unlisted securities market closed flat in the midweek session amid low investor appetite for the market, as attention shifted to the fixed-income market, where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold treasury bills at the primary market, with the stop rate over 14 per cent.
Data from the bourse showed that the volume of securities traded yesterday was abysmally low as it went down by 99.9 per cent to 8,299 units from the 20.1 million units transacted a day earlier.
Likewise, the value of shares traded during the session dropped to N1.2 million, 97.3 per cent lower than the N44.5 million posted in the preceding trading day.
These transactions were carried out yesterday in nine deals, 75 per cent lower than the 36 deals executed on Tuesday.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 482.1 million units valued at N544.1 million, UBN Property Plc occupied second place with the sale of 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc was in third place with the sale of 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
Also, VFD Group Plc ended the session as the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc was in second place with a turnover of 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with the sale of 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
Naira Sells N461.24/$1 at I&E, N764/$1 at P2P, N747/$1 at Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Naira appreciated against the US Dollar in the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) windows of the foreign exchange market on Wednesday, March 30, but depreciated in the black market.
In the P2P segment, it gained N3 against its American counterpart to quote at N764/$1, in contrast to the N767/$1 it was traded on Tuesday as the demand for cryptos, which most traders in this category use the funds to buy, was relatively mild.
In the I&E window or the spot market, the Naira appreciated against the greenback yesterday by 51 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to settle at N461.24/$1 compared with the previous day’s N461.75/$1, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange, with the forex turnover put at $74.31 million.
But in the parallel market, the domestic currency depreciated against the US Dollar in the midweek session by N4 to trade at N747/$1 versus Tuesday’s exchange rate of N743/$1.
Also, in the interbank window, the Naira lost N1.93 against the Pound Sterling to sell at N567.68/£1 versus Tuesday’s N565.52/£1, and against the Euro, it slid by N2.25 to at N499.21/€1 compared with the preceding day’s N496.66/€1.
Meanwhile, the digital currency market swayed to the bulls yesterday as most of the tokens tracked by Business Post ended in the green territory amid better-than-expected consumer confidence figures from the United States.
Data from the US Conference Board showed that its monthly survey rose to a reading of 104.2 basis points, better than the 101 mark expected, lifting Bitcoin (BTC) by 4.2 per cent to $28,519.76, as Ethereum (ETH) rose by 0.5 per cent to $1,788.52.
Solana (SOL) grew by 2.1 per cent to $21.08, Dogecoin (DOGE) gained 1.4 per cent to sell at $0.0751, Litecoin (LTC) increased by 0.6 per cent to $90.14, while Cardano (ADA) chalked up 0.5 per cent to quote at $0.3797.
However, Ripple (XRP) dropped 0.4 per cent to trade at $0.5336, Binance Coin (BNB) lost 0.2 per cent to settle at $313.02, and Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) traded flat at $1.00 apiece.
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