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.
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