As in many parts of the world, late blight disease is a scourge to potato farmers who lose millions of dollars (and tonnes of potatoes) to this pathogen each year.
Five years ago, a group of farmers, scientists, and government officials formed the AsiaBlight network to develop an integrated approach to managing, and eventually eradicated, late blight disease with an aim to improve nutrition and food security for billions throughout Asia.
Recently the network convened a side event at the 23rd Chinese Potato Conference, held in Yulin City to discuss progress made in the past year.
After a welcome from Philip Kear, the Country Liaison Scientist for the International Potato Center at the CIP-China Center for Asia-Pacific (CCCAP), Xiao Chunfang of the Enshi Academy of Agricultural Sciences presented detailed research findings about breeding results and disease management approaches designed in collaboration with the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Chunfang said that field trials in three sites had yielded strong evidence for a four-pronged approach to controlling late blight disease:
- Using late blight monitoring and warning systems for accurate prediction and forecasting;
- Monitoring species resistance to determine the first timing of fungicide application;
- Evaluating fungicide effectiveness in the field to guide the selection and use of the types of fungicides for controlling costs and reducing fungicide doses; and
- Monitoring fungicide efficacy to plan the next application period.
The network members agreed that the information elicited from these field trials could be used as reference for other major potato producing areas in China.
The research findings were complemented by several AsiaBlight displays featured at the conference. The network will hold its next annual meeting in December 2021.