Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection

, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 235–237 | Cite as

Challenges in monitoring and managing plant diseases in developing countries

  • D. KlauserEmail author
Opinion Paper


Plant diseases heavily reduce crop yields in developing countries and tropical ecosystems. Lack of capacity to manage the diseases makes these countries particularly vulnerable to their spread. Major outbreaks can threaten national food security, displace populations and seriously damage economies that are often highly dependent on agriculture. Current predictions are that disease pressure will increase because of globalized trade and cropping practices. Climate change may also play a negative role. Strategies to combat outbreaks should ideally involve reliable monitoring, accurate detection and immediate intervention. This is particularly true for emerging diseases, which typically require rapid development and implementation of novel responses. However, developing countries often lack the capacity and infrastructure to monitor diseases fully and to implement appropriate mitigation strategies. Moreover, the discovery and reporting of new diseases can lead to trade bans that significantly harm a given country’s economy. A combination is therefore required of capacity-building for disease monitoring and management together with sensible agricultural trade policies. This article describes key aspects of implementing monitoring and management in developing countries.


Tropical agriculture NPPO Disease testing Trade policies 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


  1. Anderson PK, Cunningham AA, Patel NG, Morales FJ, Epstein PR, Daszak P (2004) Emerging infectious diseases of plants: pathogen pollution, climate change and agrotechnology drivers. Trends Ecol Evol 19:535–544CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bebber DP (2015) Range-expanding pests and pathogens in a warming world. Ann Rev Phytopathol 53:335–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bebber DP, Ramotowski MAT, Gurr SJ (2013) Crop pests and pathogens move poleward in a warming world. Nat Climate Change 3:985–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bebber DP, Holmes T, Smith D, Gurr SJ (2014) Economic and physical determinants of the global distributions of crop pests and pathogens. New Phytol 202:901–910CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Boonham N, Glover R, Tomlinson J, Mumford R (2008) Exploiting generic platform technologies for the detection and identification of plant pathogens. Eur J Plant Pathol 121:355–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fisher MC, Henk DA, Briggs CJ et al (2012) Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature 484:186–194CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Flood J (2010) The importance of plant health to food security. Food Secur 2:215–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Miller SA, Beed FD, Harmon CL (2009) Plant disease diagnostic capabilities and networks. Ann Rev Phytopathol 47:15–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Smith JJ, Waage J, Woodhall JW, Bishop SJ, Spence NJ (2008) The challenge of providing plant pest diagnostic services for Africa. Eur J Plant Pathol 121:365–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Urdea M, Penny LA, Olmsted SS et al (2006) Requirements for high impact diagnostics in the developing world. Nature 444(Suppl 1):73–79CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable AgricultureBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations