IRRI organizes workshop to address unprecedented outbreak of transboundary rice viral disease in India

In August 2022, alarming news of paddy dwarfing endangering Indian rice farmers were reported in various publications in India. Research revealed that the dwarfism is caused by the southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) transmitted by the white-backed planthopper (Sogatella furcifera). This is the first time that the SRBSDV has been found in India, specifically in the states of Punjab and Haryana, where the severity of the infection ranges from 20% to 50%.

Considering this new threat to rice farmers in India, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with the CGIAR’s Plant Health Initiative (PHI), held a virtual workshop,  Emerging SRBSDV in India: Situation assessment and lessons learned from previous SRBSDV outbreaks in South East Asia, on 10 November 2022. The workshop focused on assessing the emerging SRBSDV situation in India and exchanging lessons from previous SRBSDV outbreaks in Southeast Asia. It  also proposed a global surveillance and diagnostic network for SRBSDV.

Over 30 participants, composed of specialists in plant health management from different institutions and countries, convened for the workshop for the benefit of stakeholders. These included  invited technical experts Dr. V. K. Baranwal, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi; Dr. Mandeep Hunjan, Punjab Agricultural University; Dr. Hoang-Anh Ta, Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI-Vietnam); Dr. Tong Zhang, South China Agricultural University; and Dr. Georg Goergen, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture  (IITA), They shared their knowledge of the SRBSDV and its vector, as well as the current disease management technologies, ongoing projects, and research gaps.

Dr. Prasanna Boddupalli, project lead at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); Dr. Monica Carvajal Yepes, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); and Dr. Lava Kumar, IITA , provided an overview of the Plant Health Initiative and the work packages that aim to create a global network for surveillance and diagnosis.

Dr. Van Schepler-Luu presented a proposed plan for SRBSDV, which was reviewed in order to enable surveillance and diagnostics as part of the global surveillance and diagnostic network.

Dr. Mandeep suggested that package control measures should have two priorities: one for locations where the virus is present and the other for regions where it is absent or has not yet been reported.

“This session is a strong step toward holding another workshop later to launch the activities and an excellent model for quick information transfer and networking with specialists on emerging diseases,” said Dr. Lava.

The workshop was organized and moderated by Dr. Schepler-Luu and Dr. Gilda Jonson.