AsiaBlight meeting at the Potato World Congress

The establishment of an Asian late blight network is part of a global trend of greater collaboration and knowledge sharing to improve the management of potato late blight.

At a satellite event during the World Potato Congress, which took place in Beijing during the last week of July, approximately 50 people from an array of countries attended the kickoff meeting of Asiablight: a regional network for knowledge sharing to improve control of potato late blight disease.

The cause of historic famines, potato late blight remains a major constraint for farmers around the world. The creation of Asiablight is the latest effort to promote regional cooperation around the disease.

Though the pathogen behind late blight, Phytophthora infestans, is widely controlled with fungicides, those agrochemicals represent a significant cost and threat to the environment and human health. This is especially a problem for the smallholders in developing nations whose diets and incomes CIP works to improve. Because they lack the necessary resources or knowledge, those farmers often don’t apply fungicides properly, and suffer major crop loss despite using them.

“Late blight is a huge problem globally. It is managed with fungicides, but it’s still a big issue,” said Greg Forbes, a senior scientist at the CIP Center for Asia, who was instrumental in AsiaBlight’s creation.

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