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Spatial modelling of rice yield losses in Tanzania due to bacterial leaf blight and leaf blast in a changing climate


Rice is the most rapidly growing staple food in Africa and although rice production is steadily increasing, the consumption is still out-pacing the production. In Tanzania, two important diseases in rice production are leaf blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae and bacterial leaf blight caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae. The objective of this study was to quantify rice yield losses due to these two important diseases under a changing climate. We found that bacterial leaf blight is predicted to increase causing greater losses than leaf blast in the future, with losses due to leaf blast declining. The results of this study indicate that the effects of climate change on plant disease can not only be expected to be uneven across diseases but also across geographies, as in some geographic areas losses increase but decrease in others for the same disease.

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Correspondence to Sander J. Zwart.

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The authors wish to acknowledge J.K. Aunario and M. Noel for their assistance in running models and gathering data used in this study. The authors were funded in part by the Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change On Rice Disease resistance in East Africa (MICCORDEA) project financed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium Research Programs (CRP) Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP).

The first two authors contributed equally to this work are listed alphabetically.

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Duku, C., Sparks, A.H. & Zwart, S.J. Spatial modelling of rice yield losses in Tanzania due to bacterial leaf blight and leaf blast in a changing climate. Climatic Change 135, 569–583 (2016).

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  • Geographic Information System
  • Time Slice
  • Area Under Disease Progress Curve
  • Leaf Blast
  • Bacterial Leaf Blight